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  • simonathibault 11:00 am on July 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Dharma Sushi, , Simon Thibault   

    Assis Toi: Oishii Agedashi! 

    Oishii means “yummy” or “tasty” in japanese, and agedashi tofu is tasty indeed.

    agedashi

    But more importantly, agedashi tofu is a great example of washoku, a tradition in Japan that encompasses the knowledge, practices and making of food. Washoku was recently added to the United Nations Intangible Cultural Heritage List, but by many accounts, the knowledge and traditions around washoku are in danger of being lost.

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  • simonathibault 3:58 pm on July 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Gateaux Rose, , Simon Thibault   

    Assis Toi: Remembering Rose 

    The whole time I was working on this story, all I could to was think of this song by the B-52′s. And no, you’re not about to click on Rock Lobster.

    This time “Assis Toi” heads off to visit Crystal Ross from Gateaux Rose. Gateaux Rose isn’t a bricks-and-mortar cake shop, it’s a side project that Ross does on her off hours to keep her sanity. Or maybe her day job functions to fund Gateaux Rose. In any case, Ross was kind enough to sit down with me to teach me how to make a proper buttercream. Not that stuff you find on cupcakes, which is just butter whipped with sugar and flavourings. No, we’re talking whipped egg whites, sugar syrup and flavours that sing, rather than scream.

    You can stream the episode from Information Morning Nova Scotia’s website, or you can download the podcast here.

    On a personal note, I once tried to make this very same recipe and totally screwed it up. I then took a class with Ross where I discovered my fatal flaw: I hadn’t read the instructions properly and tried to use cold butter. Room temperature butter is a must to make this work. Otherwise, expect to whip your buttercream into oblivion before it reaches the right consistency.

    Ross flavouring some buttercream. Image courtesy of Michelle Doucette/Gateaux Rose's blog

    Ross flavouring some buttercream. Image courtesy of Michelle Doucette/Gateaux Rose

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  • simonathibault 6:43 am on July 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Renee Lavalle, Simon Thibault   

    Assis Toi: A Feisty Succotash 

    First, a promise: I will try my best not to make corn-y puns in this post.

    For the second episode of my summer series for CBC Radio, “Assis Toi”  invites listeners to Prince Edward Island, as Bedford resident Nancy Johnston takes us for a trip down memory lane as she talks about summer corn boils on the island.

    But soon listeners are taken for a walk around my neighbourhood in Dartmouth and head to The Canteen. There I meet up with Feisty Chef Renée Lavallée, who whips up a beautiful summer succotash and gives great tips on how to use every last morsel of corn in your pantry.

    Renée Lavallée's summeru succotash, (photo via Feistychef.ca)

    Renée Lavallée’s summeru succotash, (photo via Feistychef.ca)

    You can find a version of the succotash on Lavallée’s website here.

    You can stream the episode on Information Morning’s website, or you can download the podcast on iTunes here.

    Bon appetit!

     
  • simonathibault 11:24 am on July 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Simon Thibault   

    News: A Highland Getaway 

    Meat lovers unite!

    IMG_4777 copy

    Fans of Getaway Meat Mongers will now have two locations to serve their needs, according to a press release. The gang from Getaway have recently purchased Highland Drive Storehouse, previously owned by Jessi Gillis.

    Located on Kaye Street in the Hydrostone neighbourhood of Halifax’s north end, Highland Drive will be keeping its in-house butcher, Bryton Bordage, as well as its staff, with Gillis transitioning out of the business.

    You can read more information about the change at Getaway’s Facebook page.

     
    • Krista 9:31 am on July 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Oh wow. Highland Drive is my go-to butcher. I wonder what changes this will mean…It’s also the pick-up location for Taproot Farms CSA. Thanks for the heads up!

  • simonathibault 1:40 pm on July 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Simon Thibault   

    The Return of "Assis Toi" to CBC 

    Last summer I had the occasion to do a food series for CBC Radio’s Information Morning in Halifax.  It was called “Assis Toi” and featured interviews and stories with local food lovers and producers, where listeners could learn how to make sausages with butchers to what it’s like to cook for scores of tree planters.

    This season will continue with that tradition, dealing with everything from a baker who named her company after her cake making grandmother, how a japanese restaurateur decided to bring izakaya-style food to Halifax, all the way to the trials of eating while undergoing chemotherapy.

    The episodes will air every tuesday on Information Morning, in mainland Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.  I’ll be posting each episode here on Passable as well as recipes from the episodes when possible.

    Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 1.13.01 PM

    The first episode I head up to the corner of Agricola and Charles in Halifax’s north end, where I meet up with chef Lauren Marshall from enVie, a vegan restaurant in Halifax. Lauren whipped up a kale melonade drink, as well as a three grain salad with arugula pesto. So tasty. You can find the recipes for those items below, and you can hear Lauren by going to Information Morning Nova Scotia’s website, or download the podcast here.

     

    Lauren Marshall’s Three Grain Salad with Arugula Pesto

    Serves 4

    *Arugula Pesto recipe*

    Ingredients:

    3-4 cups arugula

    1/2 cup olive oil

    1/4 cup lemon juice

    1 Tbsp. Apple cider vinegar

    2 cloves garlic

    1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

    1/4 cup walnuts

    2 Tbsp maple syrup

    Sea salt and pepper to taste

    1.) Place all ingredients in a food processor except for the olive oil, pulsing until it forms a smooth paste, wiping down the sides occasionally.

    2. Slowly stream in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

    *Three Grain Salad Recipe*

    Ingredients:

    1 cup cooked and cooled wild and brown rice blend

    1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa

    1 handful organic mixed green

    Juice of one lemon

    1/4 cup arugula pesto

    1/4 cup chopped raw pecans

    1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

    1 apple diced small

    Pinch red pepper flakes

    Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

    Method:

    1.) Mix all ingredients together, reserving the salad greens for plating.

    -Lay grain salad on top of a bed of greens. Mix up and enjoy!

    Lauren’s Kale Melonade

    Serves 2

    Ingredients:

    1/2 honey dew melon

    1/2 large head of kale

    1 green apple

    1 lemon

    1 lime

    1. Following manufacturer’s instructions for juicer, juice each ingredient, and blend the juices. Enjoy!

    Alternatively you can use a blender. If so start by blending the melon then add the juice of the lemon and lime. Pick all the leaves off the kale and remove seeds from apple. Blend with some ice and enjoy a smoothie instead!

     
  • simonathibault 10:57 am on June 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Simon Thibault   

    Read Up On It For June 20th, 2014 

    Purging clams and smelly fish, perfect pigs and magnificent mangos, it’s all here in the latest edition of Read Up On It!

    mango

    • Although the story was published a few weeks ago, check out this great piece by Amy Novogratz and Mike Velings in the Washington Post called “The End of Fish.”
    • I’m a fan of funk-da-fied foods: kimchi, fish sauce, shrimp paste. I don’t know if I would find the idea of having my mouth peel from the fumes an appealing prospect.  Would you say no to hongeo, South Korea’s smelliest food?
    • Last but not least, Alton Brown teaches us how to properly slice a mango, without slicing ourselves.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     
  • simonathibault 4:41 pm on June 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Food and Art, Simon Thibault   

    Lick this painting. 

    It is said that we eat with our eyes first, and in the case of George Spencer, that may be quite true.

    His paintings are stylised in a manner similar to classic still-life paintings, but instead of fruit and game, Spencer presents ice cream sundaes and hamburgers.

    Detail of George Spencer's "Strawberry Sundae"

    Detail of George Spencer’s “Strawberry Sundae”

    Argyle Fine Art will be hosting an opening reception for Spencer’s latest works in a show called “Comfort Foods.” The opening will take place this Saturday, June 21st, from 1:30 until 3:30. You can find out more at Argyle’s website.  Tasty indeed!

     
  • simonathibault 1:26 pm on June 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Passable stories, Simon Thibault   

    Lunch matters 

    It’s 11:57.

    I guess it’s time.

    I work from home, which means my days tend to be flexible. Some mornings start early, other start late, and the same goes for the end of my work days.But lunch is always at twelve.

    Unless it’s 11:57. Or 11:55. Or my stomach is rumbling. But I do my best to sit in my chair, at my desk, working away at something, until the last possible minute I can stand it.

    Time for lunch.

    It’s then that I can leave whatever is happening, whatever has happened, or is bothering me, and just walk the few steps into my kitchen, open the fridge, and think. Think about everything but those things that are bothersome.

    Movements start out quickly, without much thinking. Grab the eggs. A little milk. Put the skillet on the range, and turn it on medium-low, remember, you want to cook these gently. Bread in the toaster, but don’t turn it on yet, you don’t want the toast done before the eggs are. Might as well run some water in the sink so I can do dishes after I am done, and let those knives covered in peanut butter soak a wee bit to make it easier.

    Stop. Breathe. Remember, this is when you need to pay attention. And enjoy.

    Crack two eggs into a bowl. Add some milk. Too much milk. Add another egg. Pepper. Lots of fresh cracked pepper. Remind yourself that chives would be good on this as well. Put butter in that skillet and go out the door, behind the house, and grab a few chives. There are blossoms on the ends of a few of them, but they haven’t opened. Those would be nice on top of everything. A little bit of frou frou, a treat.

    Back in the house, the butter has melted, and so has any inkling of what I have to do later. Eggs go into the skillet. It’s a little shallow, so not all of the eggs in at once. Let the liquid eggs form a slight skin on the bottom, add more cold egg mixture. More butter? More butter.

    Turn. Scrape gently. Fold. More pepper. Turn up the heat? No, keep it as is.

    I love these eggs. They’re soft, creamy, with rich curds. Yes, I could just fry them quickly, but this method tells you to slow down. You have to keep an eye on them. A teensy tinge of guilt comes over when I go and pop the toast into the toaster. I like the french term for eggs like this: baveuse.

    Keep folding. Turning.

    Grab kitchen scissors and start adding chives. At first I think I’ve added too much. It smells strongly of onions for a minute, but once I turn and fold again, I realize I can put more. I do.

    Toast is done. As are the eggs. Perfect timing.

    Off the heat they go. Butter toast quickly. I’m less impressed with only having store-bought bread, but that’s not what is important.

    Eggs go on toast. Open up the closed chive blossoms, and place them gently on top of the mound of perfectly scrambled eggs.

    lunch

    There are no clean knives in the drawer (don’t forget to do the dishes, that’s why you filled the sink earlier) so grab a steak knife. Sit down at the kitchen table, open a magazine. I start reading and absent-mindedly shovelling food into my hungry belly when I realize what I am doing. Stop. Breathe. Slow down.

    The windows are open. I barely read the story in the magazine, only getting about two paragraphs in. I’m enjoying lunch too much to care about what I should be reading.

     
  • simonathibault 6:14 am on May 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Simon Thibault   

    Read Up On It For May 9th, 2014 

    Sauerkraut, banh mi, sushi, and gluten. Sounds like an ingredient list for making Read Up On It!

    passablebeefy

    •  Zester Daily recently posted an ode to what one author deemed to be the best banh mi in Vietnam. Debatable? Probably. Readable and enjoyable? Absolutely.
    • A few months back, the state of California made it so that chefs had to wear gloves when handling certain foods, such as sushi. Although it looks like the law may be repealed, The author Tomoko Kurokawa argues over at The Smithsonian that making and handling sushi must be done with bare hands.
    • And last but not least, Jimmy Kimmel calls bullshit on gluten-wary folks. Check out the video below.

     
  • simonathibault 4:15 pm on May 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Simon Thibault,   

    Au revoir, Jesse. 

    On Monday night, maritimers said goodbye to one of their own on Top Chef Canada. Jesse Vergen, executive chef at the Saint John Ale House, had made it to the top five, but was eliminated on the ninth episode.  I caught up with Jesse a couple of months ago when the show started, but after saying his goodbyes to the competition, decided it was time to check in once more.

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    On Monday you were eliminated from the competition on Top Chef Canada. But that means you could finally spill the beans about how long you would be on the show. How did it feel?

    Now I’m not keeping any demons. *laughs* There was this sense of anxiety building up to this episode since I had so much support from friends, family and all around the maritimes. After it aired there was a sense of a weight lifted off my chest. There were no more secrets, no more “no comments.” I’m not one to hide things. I’m a shoot from the hip guy kind of guy.

    What was it like to have your friends and family watch you in the bar every Monday night?

    It was an awesome atmosphere in the bar, people were coming down and they’re ooh-ing and aah-ing like it was a hockey game. There were quite a few times when I was in the top for the challenges and people would get into it. But when the other guys won, people would go “awww…”.

    Do you feel the judges were accurate in what they said to you in the final challenge about your dish – a play on beets in various preparations – not being balanced enough?

    A little bit. I sort of felt, as I did when I was standing there, that maybe they didn’t get what my dish was about. The sense that I got from the judges was that I was doing a halibut dish with beets. But I was utilizing the beet and showcasing the ways it could be manipulated. I was confident going in and that my concept got across. In the end, I felt like they were looking for something, because it was so tight with the other competitors. At the end of the day, that they weren’t able to get the concept was my demise.

    I don’t know if it’s just in the editing, but you were always diplomatic when it came to critiques: answers of “yes chef,” and “no chef,” while other contestants often made a point of being argumentative. I get that’s all for TV, but is that really how you responded?

    I definitely am under the mind frame that being critiqued and being judged can be used in a positive manner to make yourself better, and you learn from those experiences. I was very humble in that aspect in taking the criticism seriously. In the final episode I did stand my ground and behind my dish, I was confident in it. I had no reason to get angry at them, or mad, because the reality of it is that that challenge, Mark McEwan is not a big of modernist cooking techniques, and he’s torn people on the show for using them. Then we’re thrust into a competition where we are forced to use them. It was kind of a weird position to be in.

    You recently took part in a dinner in St. John’s where seal was the main ingredient. Tell me about that.

    I got involved with it because I am good buddies with Todd Perrin at Mallard Cottage and he knew that I am into cooking unique products, and I am a big supporter of the east coast culinary movement. I have cooked with seal a couple times, so he called me up to come over. It was with Jeremy Charles and Sean Hussey as well. It was an opportunity to cook with a unique product that has some bad PR problems. It’s easier to point at sealing than industrial food production techniques that are flawed. Foie gras went through the same thing, and at the end, we knew what we were walking into, but the reality is that it was received well across Canada.

    Now that it’s over, what do you feel you learned?

    I have learned that I am really good at shooting from my hip, dealing with curve balls. It made me confident. I was never super crushed that I didn’t get to finish everything I wanted to do during the challenges. On the other side of things it was a really awesome experience to see how they produce a show like that. Seeing all that and how the cameras and producers manage the operation.

    What’s next?

    I don’t know. Renovations at the Ale House right now, which is a big huge project. It will be a rebirth of the pub section. It will be super sexy.

    I think I’m just looking to go out and fishing. Last summer was filled up with all sorts of things, and doing the show, so obviously I didn’t get to go fishing. I am itching to get a line wet.

     
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