Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Food Adventures: The Canadian National Exhibition, 2012

The Canadian National Exhibition (a.k.a. The CNE or The Ex) comes to Toronto for the last 3 weeks of August every year.  Basically it’s a giant fair (it's also a signal that summer is coming to an end…and although this is a sad thought, it also means that I am all that much closer to Starbucks bringing back their Pumpkin Spiced Lattes!).

I’ve been going every year since before I can remember.  The CNE has everything from carnival rides to farm animals,  a world bazaar where you can buy goods from Russia to Brazil and even a building (stadium) reserved for horse shows  (where I saw the most adorable miniature horse show this year…).  It also features an entire warehouse-sized building completely devoted to food, where culinary experiences from deep fried butter to vegan delicacies (and everything in between) is available. 

This is one of a handful of days in the year where the ‘everything in moderation’ policy I try to follow when it comes to food is thrown (like a quarterback) out the window - and I go in search of all things wacky and deep fried. 

The variety of food this year at The Ex did not disappoint.  I thought I might share some of the food adventures that I had…..(I will try to do them justice - but really words can’t describe how awesome they were….!)

Red Velvet Pancakes Stuffed with Pulled Pork

This one still makes me laugh.  (in the ‘ahaha….i can’t believe someone thought of this, and that I ate it’ way). 

The red velvet pancakes were amazing (I’m totally making these at home one day). 

The pulled pork was sweeter (almost like maple syrup) then what I am used to – I think that is how these two actually went well together (don’t laugh…it really was pretty good!).

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lemon Thyme Chicken (a.k.a. Poulet au Thym Citronne)

This is one of the recipes from my French Farmhouse Cooking course that really rocked my world.... 

Lemon Thyme in the garden....So pretty...
This recipe hails from the Bresse area of Burgandy, France where the famous Poulet de Bresse (chickens) are raised. 
As per Wikipedia...
These birds are highly valued for their gamey depth of flavour, yet with fine, tender flesh and delicious, clean-flowing fat. Roughly 1.2 million are raised annually, but such is the demand inside France that few birds make it out of the country. As a premium product, they sell at a premium price: Poulet de Bresse command around 15 euro ($21US) per kilo at fine food markets.
The most typical examples, known as Bény, have a distinctive red crown, white feathers and blue feet, making up the colours of the French flag, making it an ideal national mascot.

This recipe is simple, but still packed with lots of flavour.  As you long as you don't burn the chicken when you brown it (which sometimes happens to me) it's truly a one-pot dish. 
The key with this recipe is to get a good brown on the chicken before stewing. 
If you don't have lemon thyme (I've never found it in my local grocery stores….I just happen to have it because I grow it every year in my garden) use regular thyme and add a bit more lemon juice (to taste) at the end.  You'll still get a lovely lemon and thyme chicken stew. 
I served this with a basic chive mashed potatoes and some glazed carrots. 
This is most definitely what I would call 'rustic comfort food'...

More Lemon Thyme was so pretty that I couldn't stop photographing it!
Lemon Thyme Chicken (a.k.a. Poulet au Thym Citronne)
(Adapted from 'French Farmhouse Cooking' course manual - George Brown College)
Serves 5 

Friday, August 10, 2012

French Farmhouse Cooking

Holy blog delay Batman!  (yes, I know I've said that before)....

This summer has been crazy-busy, but so much fun.  I've been to two destination weddings (Cancun and Denver), and there has been lots of fun times and food with friends and family. 

This post has been a long time coming.  My review of the French Farmhouse Cooking course I took. 
I really enjoyed this class.  The recipes were more on the 'rustic' side of cooking, with a lot of great one pot dishes.  I picked up a lot of useful information and even learned how to prepare a rabbit!  (I don't think I'll be doing that again for a while, but it was a good experience...).  This course was 6 weeks long.