Wednesday, October 31, 2012

the buzz: Oct 31

Another week, another news update.

First off, check out the news over at Food Bloggers of Canada including two new members straight outta NS. And I highly recommend clicking on the latest featured blog, The Gouda Life. Nothin but incredible photography and amazing recipes. You can also give Kelly the ol' twitter follow @thegoudalife to stay up to date on all her posts.

Now on to the local news. Tomorrow, being Nov 1st, means Brooklyn Warehouse releases their new dinner menu. In case you haven't heard, they've gone completely mad and are doing monthly menus. Talk about eating seasonally! I totally missed out on the October action so I really need to get it together and get in there. Otherwise, I just feel like I'm missing out. Aren't you glad you can now feel that way too?!

If you're looking for something to do this week or this month for that matter, look no further than the event listings at FBC. Just when I thought things were slowing down with the cooler temperatures moving in, NS brings their A game once again with a month full of food and wine and beer. Fingers crossed that lotto ticket is a winner cuz I wanna go to ALL of it!

While not on the listing, this Saturday Pete Frootique`s is celebrating 20 Years of Yum. Twenty years in business is reason enough to celebrate but Pete`s is spreading the love with in-store specials, samples, and prizes at all three locations. Way to go Pete. Here`s to 20 more.

Speaking of celebrations, Two If By Sea is turning 3! And as a birthday gift to you they`re offering $1 bevvies at the original Dartmouth location. One dolla cappuccinos? Why yes please! It's no secret that TIBS is our fav cafe and we are thrilled to be back on the D Side living mere minutes away. Yup, three years ago, while living in Dartmouth, TIBS got us hooked on perfect capps and reminded us that there ain't nuthin' wrong with a good dose of butter. Know what's even cooler? My very first blog post was on none other than TIBS. Pretty f'n cool. So, join us Saturday in sending some love their way. You might as well eat some butter while you're at it. I know I will.

In other delicious news, our awesome NS wine is once again getting some press. Check out the Top 25 Best Wineries in Canada countdown over at Wine Access Magazine where Gaspereau Vineyards ranked in at #16. Incredible. Gaspereau is one of my favs and if you have yet to try their Muskat, go get it now. Thank me later. Or get your ticket to this Friday's Wine and Chocolate Tasting Event in support of The Canadian Parapelegic Association. There's no perfect way to taste a variety of wines including NS favorites while snacking on creations from local chocolatiers. My girl Moira of Unwined will be there workshopping some of her NS pics including Avondale Sky and, well looky looky, Gaspereau. Did I mention the Muskat?

Lastly, Local Connections, a magazine promoting local biz and intent on "connecting you to your community", is at it again with new Meet Your Local events. Starting in January, they are offering intimate evenings hosted by local businesses. First up, is Ratinaud Charcuterie and Avondale Sky. They will not only guide you through three courses of food and wine, but also share their contributions to the local food movement.  So, get your ticket and get your local love on. I pretty much bought mine the second I saw the tweet.

Well, there you have it folks. Until next week, EAT UP.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

City Harvest: the twitter edition

First off, I wrote a lil article for friends Tom & Frederic over at Ratinaud French Cuisine for the first issue of their newsletter, The Cure. Check out my local love plus Frederirc's  recipe for gratin dauphinois which is probably to die for. And don't forget to sign up. If there was one newsletter to read, it's this one.

Speaking of local love, if you were out and about on this gorgeous fall day in Halifax, I'm sure you couldn't help but feel a certain vibe in the air, a vibe filled with mad love for local food and shopping. Today, City Harvest, essentially Open City's fall edition, had finally arrived. And what a day it was. It was almost like Christmas morning. For real. While I could easily go on and on about what an awesome day it was to be a Haligonian, I decided to follow in the footsteps of my Open City post and kick it twitter stylz.

And I just can't finish up before thanking the one and only Gordon Stevens of ilovelocalhalifax. He took an idea from HalifaxReTales and created the awesomeness that was Open City then brought it to life once again with City Harvest. Like the I Love Local mandate, City Harvest is all about supporting our local businesses, strengthening our community, and proving that Halifax is an incredible place to eat, shop, and live. The scene out there today was certainly one of local love and it's only day one. Oh snap.

OMG OMG OMG when I wake it'll be !!!!!!!!!! Best day to live in Hali ever. Thank you & all local biz takin part.

Alright , let's do this! Having a hard time deciding where to start...but good thing I'm starvin! 

@JavaBlendCoffee @hfxseaportmarket to startup . Double shot baby!  

thanks for the short ribs ! Gonna be delish!  

The new totally autumn bars are amaze-balls! Perfect start to a day of binge eating!   

Damn! winter warmer & fish taco. Thx tacofairy !  

And big ups to Mother Nature for givin us a sick day to explore our city and all the #locallove that is !  

@BishopsCellar rockin the #locallove with @WinesofNS tastings paired with local cheeses. #CityHarvest

Just a lil refreshment break @carbonstok w/ @ShipBldrsCider & @GarrisonBrewing tall ship amber. Shopping never tastes so good! #CityHarvest 

Got me a sick new t from @LostCod and it's 25% off @carbonstok! you continue to amaze me. #locallove

@brentdarbyson gettin his pork on & it's the last one! Triple pork threat back here tomo!  

Been waiting all day for my ice cream ! And it's FREE! Now that is !  

Might as well follow ice cream w/ the newest fusion tacos chicken tikka! Holy f!  

@SmilingGoatSpro for my much needed second caffeine injection. Love me some clover.  

@RatinaudHFX true kitchen door stylz. That's dinner taken care of!  

Check 's sweet pics from day1! Got several in there including the bestest of !

Amazing right?! And there`s a whole second day to eat and shop and show your true love for Halifax. Follow the ilovelocal links to see the complete-and utterly mind blowing-listings. And remember to keep up the local love each and every day. Cuz you know who's awesome? We are.

Friday, October 26, 2012

local love: Elmridge Farm pumkin cranberry bread

Well, fall has finally arrived. The leaves are all aglow in reds and oranges and yellows and chilly temperatures have replaced the warm summer breezes. But there's no better sign that it is autumn than the sudden pumpkin mania gripping the world. There's just something about fall that makes people throw all other ingredients to the curb and focus on those big orange gords. Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin. It's literally everywhere you look. While I do love me some pumpkin, I doubt I would ever drink a pumpkin latte and my pumpkin pie craving is easily satisfied by a single piece at Thanksgiving. But that didn't stop me from grabbing a cute lil' pumpkin from Elmridge Farm at the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market. Elmridge out of Centreville is a mainstay at the market with shelves bursting with local goodies. They pretty much have everything you're looking for.

I originally had visions of pumpkin bundt cake but this bad boy ended up in pumpkin cranberry bread. Last season planting I remember serving a similar loaf and folks went nuts. I mean, what's better to come home to on a cold planting day than a hot bowl of soup and a moist pumpkin bread all slathered in butter. Nothing. But this version went all vegan on me since there were no eggs to be had. A quick internet search led me to this recipe over at All Recipes which I then made my own. And so I give you:

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

1 3/4 c. flour
1 c. brown sugar
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. plus a few pinches nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon
few pinches allspice
2 t. vanilla
1 c. pumpkin puree
1/2 c. canola oil
1/3 c. coconut milk
1/3 c. pumpkin seeds (raw, unsalted)
1/2 c. dried cranberries

If you are making your own pumpkin puree (local is best baby!), get that pumpkin a roasting. Perhaps 425 for 20-30 min should do it. When its all soft, scrape out the flesh and puree til smooth.

Preheat oven to 350. Sift together dry ingredients. Mix in the wet ingredients til all the flour is absorbed. Fold in the nuts and cranberries. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 min. The crust did brown quite a lot so next time I'd probably cover it in the last 15 minutes. When done, cover with foil and let it steam for about 15 min. This helps keep all that moisture right where you want it, inside.

This loaf was moist and delicious and proves that vegan food isn't missing anything. However, I do think the loaf could easily have handled  more spice. More nutmeg and perhaps some cloves which I didn't have on hand.

Brent just had a piece and says we should buy more pumpkin. So, I guess I am joining team pumpkin after all.

Monday, October 22, 2012

the buzz: Oct 23

Woohoo, my first weekly news installment. Here`s hoping I can keep it up.

First up, the news over at Food Bloggers of Canada. Each Monday, FBC posts food related news from across Canada. Check out this week's news for some sweet contests like a members only cookie contest for a chance to win a trip to FBC 2013. Oh, did I forget to mention Food Bloggers of Canada is hosting a big ol' food bloggin' conference in April 2013? Awesome indeed. And, in case you're looking for some new blogs to follow, Food Bloggers of Canada also feature blogs every Friday. I've been lucky enough to be among the chosen and, let me tell you, it's feels freakin' awesome.I'll be sure to re-post all the other lucky folks.

Alright, so what's going on this week in Hali? Well, like always, shit loads. Let's start with the Successful Canadian Women's Dinner hosted by Adsum House. After attending their annual Blooming Tea (you can read up on my post here), I was so touched by all the incredible work they do to help women and children better their lives. And that got me thinking. Sometimes we forget that even the smallest of gestures can make a big difference. So, despite not being able to attend the dinner, I decided to bake up a totally decadent chocolate cake and donate it as part of the auction portion of the dinner. With three inspiring female honorees, a fabulous meal, and loads more goodies up for auction, I'm sure the event will be a huge success. Lucky for you, there's a few tickets left. Check out their site for all the details.

lucky guests, right?
In other news, last Monday, our very own Jeffrey van Horne kicked some cocktail ass, winning both the judge's and people's choice awards for the Made With Love cocktail competition. So, if you have yet to check out JVH's incredible concoctions at the Bicycle Thief or Wednesday's at Untitled Eats, best get your cocktail on. But this week, for the first of what I hope to be many times (because I cannot go), JVH along with the chef at Untitled Eats are hosting a cocktail paired dinner. Ah-mazing. If there are any tickets left, call NOW. At the very least, check out JVH's blog Dash of Dartmouth for more cocktail love.

And the big news, this weekend is City Harvest!!! Can you tell I'm more than a little excited? After the overwhelming success of Open City in May, the ilovelocal powerhouse is once again bringing us two days of deals on local shopping and sweet back door take out at local restaurants city wide. If you're looking for a reason to fall in love with Halifax all over again, look no further. C'mon just check out the listings! And you will no doubt you see on the list. We really wanted to pop-up as The Record Shop but sadly the stars were just not aligned. I'm sure it'll happen someday but for now, we'll take advantage of City Harvest and eat, eat, eat! I suggest you do the same. If you need more convincing, check out my post from Open City and get droolin.

Also, the event listings I compile for Food Bloggers of Canada will be up early next week but in the meantime, there are a few fab looking dinners this weekend. Damn, if only I won the lottery already.
  • Fall Wine Dinner at Nectar Restaurant and Wine Bar. Mon. Oct 29, 630 pm. Five courses complete with wine pairings from the fine folks at Bishop's Cellar. $120. For resos, hit up their site.
  • Tidal Bay Tasting Dinner at Brooklyn Warehouse. Sun. Oct 28, 6 pm. Five courses, five NS Tidal Bays. 75 bones. (Can you say sick deal?!) This one'll go fast so check their fb page for deets.
And one last thing, the charcuterie genius Ratinaud is starting a newsletter, The Cure. Yes, charcuterie is the cure for anything. The first issue hits your inboxes this Thursday and I may just know someone in it (hint hint!). Best get signed up.

And just like that, you're on the 'in'.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

gobble gobble

Well, it's that time of year. Turkey day. Time to chop a bunch of local veggies, rub that local bird down with some butter and herbs,stuff it with savory bready goodness, smother everything in creamy gravy, and have one helluva family feast. I for one love turkey dinner. There's just something about loading your plate up with a little bit (or a lot!) of everything: turkey, stuffing, potatoes, squash or turnip, carrots, asparagus, cranberry sauce, and gravy. And we still somehow always manage to fit in dessert. Take that stomach! This year we're kicking it local apple and pear crisp but mom will most likely whip up one of her famous pumpkin pies too. Oh snap, double dessert.

But despite it's epic deliciousness, turkey dinner is a shit ton of work. While my sis is hosting this year with help from yours truly, perhaps this year you'd rather spend that time relaxing with the fam. What's great about living in an awesome city like Hali is that you can head on over to one of our amazing local restos and let them do the cookin for ya. So, here are three pics and amazingly enough they all source locally.

Saege Bistro - Sunday. The cool thing about Saege's dinner this year is they're doing it family style. This means big plates of food for the whole table to pass around and share. Pretty damn cool. For resos and the menu check out the fb page.

elements on hollis - Monday. Elements loves showcasing local and I doubt their holiday feast will be any different. Resos and the menu here.

Edible Matters - Not only are they offering a free range turkey dinner for dine in or take away, but they're also selling local turkeys. Booyah. Their fb page has more deets.

So whatever form your turkey dinner takes, whether you're getting a steam facial mashing that huge pot of potatoes or relaxing over a glass of wine while being served a delicious meal, let's celebrate the NS bounty and keep it local. We even got ourselves a Gaspereau Tidal Bay to round out the local feast. Pretty sure living in a province full of incredible local farms and producers is reason enough to be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

local love: Noggins Corner Farm plum dutch baby

Well, the blog has been a tad ignored these past few weeks but, in case you didn't see it, I did pull together a guest post for my gal Lia over at Se7en's a Banquet, 9ine's a Brawl. And it's a crazy one. Eggs Benny Hors D'oeuvres with Quail Eggs and Latkes. Sheer madness I tell ya!

But we also found a new home, subletted the apartment, packed, and moved to the other side of the bridge. Yes, we are now livin' it up on the D Side. Downtown Dartmouth to be precise. And we couldn't be happier. The house is huge, there's loads of friends in the hood already, Two If By Sea is mere minutes away (trouble for my croissant addiction!), and, get this, Noggins Corner Farm has recently opened a shop in Alderney Landing open seven days a week. Local produce minutes away available every day??? It doesn't get any better.

So, in honour of our new neighborhood and love of all things local, here's a lil' breakfast recipe I whipped up the other day using some Noggin's plums: Plum Dutch Baby, otherwise known as an oven pancake. Be warned though, this isn't your typical bready pancake but rather it's eggy cousin. I've been making both an apple and a pear version for years. (Simply use 2 apples/pears thinly sliced plus some cinnamon/ginger in place of the plums.) In these, the fruit magically rises to the top, making a nummy caramelized fruit crust. The plums, however, stayed on the bottom, making it a sort of upside down pancake. It was also more tart but every bit as delicious. And once again, it's all iphone and no Canon SLR. Yes, I suck.
Plum Dutch Baby

2 T. butter
3 T. brown sugar
plums, halved, enough to cover the bottom of a 9" cast iron skillet

3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. almond milk, I used unsweetened vanilla
3 eggs
1/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. almond extract

Preheat oven to 425. While preheating, add the butter to the skillet and melt. Once melted, mix in brown sugar. Arrange plums cut side down until the pan is covered. Whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour over  plums. Bake about 20 min til puffed and slightly browned. Serve with maple syrup to amp up the sweetness (or add a few teaspoons of sugar to the batter).

Serves 4 or 2 depending on who you're feeding!