If you are trying to manage your weight, try eating some dense foods that are high in protein or fiber to fill you up and leave you satisfied for longer. Toss aside that iceberg lettuce, these foods will give you more bang for your, uh, calorie.

While water itself isn't filling, you will be more likely to overeat if you are thirsty so make sure you are properly hydrated

Bran Cereal
This one is nothing new, but the amount of fiber in this morning dish is sure to leave you more satisfied than cereal without bran.

Steel-cut oats
Filled with tons of fiber, you remain satisfied and they help to control your blood sugar levels

So filling, I dare you to try and eat two (I don't think it's possible)

It's been demonstrated to keep you feeling full longer than other meat products and it makes sense. Think about the texture of a salmon steak.

Full of good fat and protein, avocados keep your coat shiny

Studies have demonstrated that women who eat two eggs in the morning lose significantly more weight than those who do not. I can't think of a more dense food.

Think about how you feel after a meal that contains potatoes. Satisfied?

Fiber takes up lots of room in your stomach to make you feel full.

The teacher's pet of fibre foods, beans pack a lot of it into a small package.

High in protein and basically everything awesome, quinoa fills you up in addition to being a super duper food.

Whole Wheat Pasta
We all know pasta is filling, but whole wheat pasta adds an extra punch by adding more nutrients and fiber.

Dense and full of fiber

Much like grapes, these little flavour bursts make a surprisingly satisfying snack

Notorious among diet circles, you can stuff your face with popcorn, feel like a pig and still not overdo it on calories

Shout out to the vegans!

What would a morning of new age discussion be without an afternoon vegan recipe!

The following delicious recipe comes via my Bostonian vegan brother, Jack. I like his use of 'quotation marks' around vegan replications of milk cheeses.

Baked Vegan Mac and 'Cheese'

12 oz. dry penne, spirals or macaroni pasta
3 tablespoons light olive oil
3 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups unsweetened plain hemp milk or other plain non-dairy milk
2 cups shredded vegan cheese (I used half 'mozzarella' and half 'cheddar')
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup mixed exotic mushrooms (I used dried ones, this is the measure
after soaking them in hot water to refresh them)

1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon paprika and/or dried basil
Halved grape or cherry tomatoes, optional

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and pre-cook the penne until it is al dente - tender, but still quite firm to the bite.(It continues to cook in the sauce.) Drain the pasta in a colander and
rinse it quickly under cold water. Set aside and toss with olive oil to prevent sticking.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and stir in the flour (A whisk is recommended). Cook and stir the flour for about 10seconds, then slowly add in the hemp milk, whisking to blend the flour paste and 'milk'.[Note - at this point, I ran the sauce through a blender to reduce lumps :) ]

Add the sea salt, parsley, basil, and mushrooms.

Bring the mixture to a bubble while stirring (it will thicken as it heats) then reduce the heat to low.

Add the shredded vegan cheese, and stir. Continue stirring the sauce until the cheese melts, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a 6-cup baking dish, combine the cooked penne with the hot cheese sauce. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with bread crumbs and paprika. Add tomatoes and dried basil, if desired.

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes, until bubbling.

Ingestible Florals

On the continuum of food relevance, this post will lie contentiously close to not.

Read on, friends! That doesn’t mean it has no value.

A couple of years ago I took a certification course to become a Nutrition and Wellness Specialist through Can-Fit-Pro and we got into some progressive wellness discussions about energy fields and chakras, neuro linguistic programming (NLP) and floral remedies like Bach Flowers. Before that I had never heard of Bach Flowers, but now I use them habitually.

I find they are particularly helpful during periods of upheaval or stress. I’m afraid of flying and they soothed me during my (long) flight to Sydney, Australia. Because they have no side effects or dietary conflicts, you can also give them to dogs or fussy babies- even plants. Pregnant women can use Bach Flowers to reduce the trauma experienced during labour.

They make the Rescue Remedy in droplets, spray and cream. They also make a nighttime version with a different floral blend and a kids version that contains no alcohol. My favourite are the pastilles, which taste like old-fashioned candy! Stress relief candy!

You can use the blend, or, if you have a particular ailment, you can take individual remedies for specific issues (listed below.)

If all this funny business makes you skeptical, all I can ask is: what have you got to lose? Right? Have a gander over this list and maybe you have some obscure ailment that could do with a little floral treatment.
Agrimony - mental torture behind a cheerful face
Aspen - fear of unknown things
Beech - intolerance
Centaury - the inability to say 'no'
Cerato - lack of trust in one's own decisions
Cherry Plum - fear of the mind giving way
Chestnut Bud - failure to learn from mistakes
Chicory - selfish, possessive love
Clematis - dreaming of the future without working in the present
Crab Apple - the cleansing remedy, also for self-hatred
Elm - overwhelmed by responsibility
Gentian - discouragement after a setback
Gorse - hopelessness and despair
Heather - self-centredness and self-concern
Holly - hatred, envy and jealousy
Honeysuckle - living in the past
Hornbeam - tiredness at the thought of doing something
Impatiens - impatience
Larch - lack of confidence
Mimulus - fear of known things
Mustard - deep gloom for no reason
Oak - the plodder who keeps going past the point of exhaustion
Olive - exhaustion following mental or physical effort
Pine - guilt
Red Chestnut - over-concern for the welfare of loved ones
Rock Rose - terror and fright
Rock Water - self-denial, rigidity and self-repression
Scleranthus - inability to choose between alternatives
Star of Bethlehem - shock
Sweet Chestnut - Extreme mental anguish, everything has been tried and there is no light
Vervain - over-enthusiasm
Vine - dominance and inflexibility
Walnut - protection from change and unwanted influences
Water Violet - pride and aloofness
White Chestnut - unwanted thoughts and mental arguments
Wild Oat - uncertainty over one's direction in life
Wild Rose - drifting, resignation, apathy
Willow - self-pity and resentment
In previous posts, I've alluded to my witchy inclinations. I love this apothecary stuff because it feels you are connected with something ancient and trusted.

L'essence du soleil

During the dark, dull days of winter, there is nothing that emulates sunshine like the smell of fresh lemon.

The juice’s acidity is the perfect balancing agent to add contrast and dimension to sweet dishes. A last-minute squirt livens and freshens any meal.

Even better, recent studies suggest that adding citrus to green tea seems in increase the catechins available to the body. It works as a booster for the absorbtion of antioxidants! (I know, it doesn’t taste as good though.)

I used to think lemon juice was basically as good as it gets… until I started to experiment more with the rind. Jamie Oliver advises that the most flavour is in the rind, but I think rinds intimidate people. Acrid and chewy, people sometimes don’t know what to do with it- but it has so much potential in its compact flavour.

The trick lies in a good zester like a Microplane or my favourite rasp from Lee Valley.

Here is one of my favourite lemony recipes from Nigella Lawson from her Nigella Bites television series.

Lemon Linguine

750 g dried linguine
2 egg yolks
50 g freshly grated parmesan + more to taste
150 ml double cream
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
15 g butter
Liberal use of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Cook the pasta in water that is salted like the Ligurian Sea.Put the egg yolks into a bowl and beat with a fork. Add the grated parmesan, cream, lemon zest and juice and whisk. You don't want the sauce to be too fluffy, just combined.

As soon as the pasta is cooked, drain it and then, off the heat, toss it back in the pan. Throw in the butter and stir it about. Make sure that the butter melts and the pasta is well coated. Then add most of the sauce and turn the pasta well in it. 

Tip the pasta into a serving bowl and add the rest of the sauce, a final smattering of parmesan and some roughly chopped parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 6.


 When I was in Australia a little over a year ago, my roommate and I made a ritual of buying banana bread en route to our bi-weekly graduate classes. Banana bread was never in short supply: they sold it in thick, tidy slices lined up at the cash register of any coffee shop, grocery store or market.

It’s not exactly macrobiotic, but it’s wholesome in that old-fashioned sort of way that is comforting, the sort of thing that might help if you were homesick and living in a distant hemisphere, away from your friends and family.

It didn’t come with chocolate chips or cream cheese icing or any funny business: just straight, old-fashioned banana bread.

I once made the mistake of asking if a store owner would consider switching up the formula, maybe adding a little cinnamon? Some cloves or cocoa powder?

She just about bit my head off and I had a revelation of sorts: cinnamon is not a universal dessert flavour.

I soon realized that contempt for cinnamon was an Australian hobby and refrained from any mention of the much-despised stick. Further extensive research demonstrated that Brits share the Australian disdain for the spice and our only comrades in Battle Cinnamon are the folks down south (Americans.) A recent Guardian UK blog post rails against the spice for being everywhere and on everything:

Citing Starbuck and other coffee shops as perpetrators and Cinnabon as the ultimate sinner, the author gives examples of recipes where cinnamon does not belong: squash puree with watermelon and cinnamon, cinnamon pineapple pork and cinnamon tinged jerk chicken.

His investigation takes him onto Google where he types in the words “America’s favourite favorite spice” – only to be met with an abundance of evil sticks.

This is one of those cultural nuances, a strange one at that. I never thought cinnamon went everywhere. It goes on cinnamon rolls, on top of fancy coffee foam and sometimes makes its way into sweet-savoury autumnal recipes and gum. That really doesn’t seem like everywhere to me. At that, you can choose (as I do) to not put cinnamon on your fancy foam-topped coffee and that’s one less place to find the scape-goated spice.

Have a look at this Guardian UK rant and let me know what your thoughts on cinnamon are. Do you think Canadians and Americans use too much of it? Would you like to see it in less coffee shops? Is it something you care a lot about?

Saturday Morning Cartoon

Take a trip inside Anthony Bourdain's twisted universe (Alternate Universe.)

In the following sneak preview, he builds a Robo Chef with the powerful legs and thighs of Chef Mario Batali, "to stand for long hours," and the brain of Rachel Ray which he mistakes for the brain of Alton Brown.

Highlights: Gourmet Food & Wine Expo

Give yourself a stretch. The weekend is almost here! Rejoice! And that can only mean one thing: The Gourmet Food and Wine Expo is on.

I had a chance to check out the VIP preview last night and I left with a fuzzy head and a bag full of goodies.

I started off with a lovely sample of Le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Pinot Noir 2007. I savoured Le Clos Jordanne's delicious Chardonnay on a visit to Frank @ AGO and it was recently named the world's best Chardonnay in a blind taste test  (a feat that was previously only achieved by Europeans.) The winemaker, Thomas Bachelder, was recently named 'Winemaker of the Year' at the 2009 Ontario Wine Awards.

All this said, I was amped to try the Pinot Noir, as it's my favourite kind of wine and the 2007 vintage is universally considered to be the best ever produced in Ontario. Oh, it stood up to it's reputation. To say I enjoyed it would be an understatement. It was rich, smooth and deep. Simply lovely. The muscle comes from the clay soil where the grapes grow. It's got Canadian wine connoisseurs in quite a tizzy! ($70, available at Vintages locations from November 21 onward)

Joy of all joy, the fine people at La Maison Alexis de Portneuf were there. I sampled and immediately purchased their award-winning semi-ripened goat cheese, Le Cendrillon (Cinderella, $5) also known as the BEST CHEESE IN THE WORLD. Luscious and creamy, covered in a distinct ash colour, I sighed happily as I tried it. The girl next to me found it salty. (Gasp! but to each their own.)

If vintages aren't elite enough for you, make your way over to the super-special-sequestered rare and obscure section. The wines in this area are not available for purchase in retail locations. I tried a rosé from Australia courtesy of Hemispheres Wine Guild. For the oenophile in your circle, they offer a variety of international fine wines (not available in stores) for $100, $167, $200, or $334 per month ($4000 in full.)

I needed something to pair with my wine. Luckily, Brix chocolate was right next door. Chocolate? Yes, they offer 40, 60, and 70 per cent cocoa bars to pair with wine ($10 - show price). Since I was drinking a rosé, the women suggested I try it with milk chocolate. They shave the chocolate off a brick so that it's texture mimics that of a hard cheese.
Procedure: drink a sip, bite chocolate, let it melt a bit, sip again.
I was astonished at how well it paired. The formula is specially designed to complement wine and draw out the fruity, earthy nuances in the flavour. Milk chocolate and rosé. Who knew? I bought their medium dark chocolate for pairing with lighter fruit-flavoured wines like Zinfandel, Syrah Rhone, Merlot or Shiraz. I look forward to eating it. Wine and chocolate together. Finally.

I asked the lovely ladies at the booth why they were placed in such a coveted place amongst the obscure, fancy wines. They responded that the show's organizers had loved their product and decided placement. I might go back to the show just to get some more.

The expo was pretty awesome over all. I ate sushi from Edo, a mini pulled pork sandwich with blue cheese emulsion from Splendido, sampled Gold Patron, had a mango margarita. I had some French Heritages Cotes du Rhone, La Crema Russian River Chardonnay from 2007, and Mount Riley Sauvignon Blanc 2008. I also sampled sampled stout beer and Crystal Head vodka by Dan Akroyd.

Lastly, I was quite impressed with Lisa Rotenberg at Rocket Fuel Coffee. They specialize in premium rare coffees and offered me a sample of Mysore Nuggets. I hesitated. Jamaican Blue caught my eye ($24). Rare, special. I asked about it and was pointed to the even more rare Esmerelda coffee ($55). My eyes widened. She told me about another one that only came up for auction twice a year, but I staggered away in search of more drinks and food. :)

The Gourmet Food and Wine Expo runs from November 19-22 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building:
Friday, 2-10 PM
Saturday, 12-10 PM
Sunday, 12-6 PM

Admission, $15, must be 19 years of age or older
Puchase tickets here.

Salmon 2 x /week = Healthy

 From left to right: Exectutive Chef David Garcelon of the Royal York Hotel, Nutritionist Leslie Beck, Mike Cooke, CEO of Cooke Aquaculture Inc.

Earlier this week, I attended an event at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel to celebrate the partnership of new eco-certified True North Salmon and the Royal York Hotel. I've previously hailed the fabulously fresh practices of True North here and here. Cooke Aquaculture Inc., the parent company of True North Salmon is the first company in North America to achieve third party certification to the internationally-recognized Seafood Trust Eco-label, which is certainly cause for a celebration!

Mike Cooke, CEO of the family-owned company, spoke to us about their efforts toward sustainability. I chatted with him for a bit and he's my kind of guy: real, unpretentious and passionate about what he does. In 1985, he started Cooke Aquaculture with his father, brother, and one employee to raise farmed Atlantic salmon in the Bay of Fundy. The company now has more than 1,600 employees and is listed as one of the 50 Best Managed Companies in Canada. His company cares about the environment because, as he says,"We live in the communities where we operate."

Executive Chef David Garcelon spoke to us about the menu. We ate horseradish harvested from the hotel's roof top patio and savoured the culinary star of the day, eco-certified salmon.

I sat at a table with new friends John Rose, President of Icy Waters Arctic Charr; Derek Hori, Sales and Operations Manager at Icy Waters; and veteran food writer, Alexa Clark, of Cheap Eats. I was pleasantly surprised when Canadian food writing icon Elizabeth Baird, of Canadian Living, Food Network Canada and Toronto Sun fame, joined our table. Both Alexa and Elizabeth raved about the spectacular New Brunswick salmon facilities. Apparently they have fish behavioural psychologists that can read signs to tell when the fish have eaten enough so they don't overfeed them and can minimize waste. Mussels line the bottom of the tanks to eat leftover food and other waste products. Spic and span!

The meal was divine.

Globe and Mail contributor and nutritionist, Leslie Beck, discussed the benefits of salmon (of which there are many.) Her key message was basically RUN! Don't walk! Eat salmon right now.

Eating salmon twice a week can make a world of difference in your body by significantly reducing your chances of getting a lot of diseases. I like to think I know a thing about nutrition and wellness (since I'm a certified specialist), but even I was astounded by some of the stats Beck offered.

Eating salmon twice a week (6 oz total), as recommended by the Canadian Heart and Stroke Association means:
  • Heart disease – 80% reduced risk
  • Type 2 Diabetes – 90% reduced risk
  • Cancer – 60% reduced risk (with particular benefits pertaining to prostate cancer)
  • Macular degeneration – 30-60% reduced risk
  • Alzheimer's disease - 60% reduced risk
  • One of the best natural sources of vitamin D, something everyone is talking about these days as an immune-booster and cancer prevention aid
  • One of the best natural sources of Omega-3 (DHA, EPA) – Although there isn’t yet a certified daily recommendation mandated by Health Canada, you should be getting 500 mg of DHA and EPA daily. (You should get 1000 mg of DHA if you have heart disease.)
  • Daily DHA & EPA intake doesn’t matter because the body can store Omega-3. It's the weekly stats that count.
  • DHA is crucially important for pregnant women, especially in the third trimester because it’s needed for brain and eye development – they should consume 12 oz per week
  • Pregnant women should be concerned about high-mercury fish: escolar, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, and fresh or frozen tuna. Salmon is NOT in this category and can be considered safe for pregnant women.
  • DHA and EPA are among the top bio-active ingredients being studied and discussed by cutting-edge experts in the nutrition and health community

I don't know about you, but all this info has got me thinking about eating a lot more salmon. The eco certification on True North Salmon means you can rest easy knowing the Atlantic salmon population is being monitored, maintained and treated right!

Here are a couple of simple recipes. Don't wait! Eat salmon tonight.


Preheat oven to 450°. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Spray the foil with Pam or olive oil. Place the salmon, skin side down, in the pan. Squirt with lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or until the salmon turns opaque. It’s ok to leave it pink in the very middle. It will keep cooking after you have removed it from the oven. Let the fish rest for 2-5 minutes. Serve.


Preheat a non-stick pan on medium-high heat, spray it with olive oil, and add the spices of your choice. Add a thin layer of flour or cornstarch to salmon. Place in pan skin side down. Keep an eye on the thick end of the fillet to see how far through it's cooked. You want to flip the fish when it's slightly less than 1/3 of the way through the fish. After flipping watch until it has cooked slightly less than 1/3 of the way from the other side. Remove from pan to let rest for 2-5 minutes. Serve.

All photos kindly credited to Chuck Brown Photography.

Where to eat

The fine people at Eating the Road came up with this junkfood flow chart to help you figure out where to eat:

Mexican Citrus Soup

It's getting cold and swiney outside, but that doesn't mean you can't recapture summer for dinner. This spicy, citrusy soup reminds me of the stoic ingredients in borscht or the cabbage soup diet soup (which I like and defend!) There is essentially no fat in this soup, except the cooking oil.

Mexican Citrus Soup

1 onion chopped
1 onion, halved
15 cloves of garlic, skin on

5 cups of stock (chicken, vegetable: you choose)
1 cup water
6 tomatoes, cubed
pinch of cumin
pinch of oregano
2 jalapeno peppers, diced (leave out the seeds if you don't want as much heat)
1 tsp of lime rind
1 tsp orange rind
1/2 tsp grapefruit rind
juice and flesh of one lime
juice of one orange
juice of one grapefruit
salt and pepper
smattering of chopped cilantro

  1. Caramelize halved onion and garlic cloves in dry pan until skins blacken. When they are wilted and caramelized, remove from heat. Wait until cool and then chop.
  2. Heat olive oil in saucepan on medium. Add chopped onion. Sautee until softened. Add stock and water. Bring gently to a boil. Reduce to simmer.
  3. Add tomatoes, cumin, oregano and jalapeno. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove soup from heat. Add citrus juices and flesh. Serve topped with fresh cilantro.
  5. Meditate.
(Shout out to Nick Poirier for the recipe. Thanks!)

    Wine to water

    I've recently stumbled across a world I never knew existed.

    An article on Slashfood from the weekend discussed Michael Mascha, who bears the rare and distinct title of water sommelier. After working as a wine sommelier, he began to fear for his liver after his cardiologist recommended he cut way back on alcohol. Enter a new passion: water.

    Mascha has written a book, Fine Waters A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Most Distinctive Bottled Waters and his abundantly resourceful website discusses water industry minutae I had never imagined existed. In addition to extensive company information and trace mineral statistics, he offers flavour descriptions usually reserved for wine. See below for his assessment of Galvanina water:
    Galvanina Description:

    Balance: Still Light
    Virginality: *****
    Minerality: Medium
    Orientation: Neutral
    Hardness: Very Hard
    Carbonation: A

    A poll in the sidebar of Mascha's website asks for readers preferences on still, effervescent, light sparkling, medium sparkling or bold sparkling. The writer from Slashfood was allegedly skeptical about variation in water taste, but noted "subtle and palpable differences" between 13 varieties. With more than 3,000 kinds of bottled water available, maybe Mascha is on to something.

    Double duty

    I like things that serve more than one purpose. Take a look at this useful kitchen towel with its measurement and cooking conversions galore:

    It sells for $22 from Bailey Doesn't Bark.

    Something beautiful

    Happy Friday! Enjoy this lovely video of a jasmine flowering tea blossoming:

    You can purchase them in Toronto at David's Tea, The Tea Emporium and other fine tea purveyors for $3-$4 apiece.

    I think they make a lovely post-dinner presentation for entertaining.

    It's a good thing. It's awesome.

    The Cardinal Sin of Serving

    Dear servers of the world, at restaurants fine and humble,

    I eat slowly.

    Everything I read about health and nutrition tells me this is a good thing, digestion is important, meals should be savoured, we should only eat until we are 80 per cent full, et cetera, et cetera.
    Aside: I’m not too sure whether the eating slowly is related to my superior chewing so much as my loquacious tongue, but nonetheless...
    The problem arises when my companions do not mirror my consumption speed. In fact, they never do. I am inevitably the last one eating. The comforting clinking and clanging subsides until only I am making any racket.

    It makes me self-conscious, particularly at dinner parties. But such is life: I deal with it, take it in stride. So be it.

    Ah, my friends, but restaurants are another story.

    If my companions complete their meal, there are other staggered diners still eating all around me. Oh bliss! I can make as much noise as I wish. The meal is destined to be a serene and pleasant experience…


    the server commits The Cardinal Sin of Serving and clears my companions' plates.

    Oh good, thank you for drawing attention to my isolation. Thank you for making me feel rushed.

    Quite honestly, I don’t know what traditional etiquette dictates, but I will appeal to the advice of my clever boss who just happens to be a corporate etiquette and protocol trainer certified by the Protocol School of Washington®. She says the purpose of etiquette is to make people feel comfortable. It’s that simple.

    Thus, clearing the plates of everyone at the table except one person is poor etiquette. It makes me uncomfortable and self conscious. Just as we wait for everyone to be served before we start eating, shouldn’t we wait for everyone to finish before we start clearing?

    Plus, you’re just going to have to make another trip in a few minutes anyway.

    So, collective servers of the world, if you are reading this (which you naturally all are), please wait until I have finished eating before clearing my companions' plates.

    Jess Bennett

    P.S. For a list of other serving sins, please consult this list of 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do, compiled by aspiring Hamptons restaurateur, Bruce Busche. My grievance is listed as number 17. Part two of his list is here.

    For retired eyes only

    Allegra McEvedy, alongside the Guardian UK’s Word of Mouth blog, does these neat little sessions called online Cookalongs. Each month, they post a list of ingredients and then people all over the world can tune in via the internet and make something magnificent.

    This month’s Cookalong dish is Morrocan-themed filo pie and it is happening tomorrow: November 12, 2009.

    I visited my new favourite site Travelmath! to calculate the time difference and it will be happening at 3PM in Toronto (hence the title of this blog post: For retired eyes only.) If you’re not in Toronto, you can go to Travelmath and figure out what time it’s happening in your region of the world.

    For Cookalong equipment and ingredients, visit here.

    For the actual live, interactive Cookalong, visit here.


    Cuisine Canada, the alliance of culinary professionals in Canada, and the University of Guelph just announced the winners of the 12th annual Canadian Culinary Book Awards. Support your peeps (Canadians) and think about buying local... cookbooks, that is!

    Winner of the Canadian Culinary Landmarks Hall of Fame is:
    • Culinary Landmarks: A Bibliography of Canadian Cookbooks, 1825–1949 by Elizabeth Driver (University of Toronto Press, Toronto)
    Winners in the English Cookbook Category are:
    • Gold: Small Plates for Sharing, Laurie Stempfle, Ed. (Company's Coming Publishing Limited, Edmonton)
    • Silver: The Complete Canadian Living Baking Book: The Essentials of Home Baking by Elizabeth Baird (Transcontinental Books, Montreal)
    Winners in the English Special Interest Category (books about food and beverages, but not cookbooks) are:
    • Gold: Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, Beyond the Great Wall: Recipes and Travels in the Other China (Random House Canada, Toronto)
    • Silver: Taras Grescoe, Taras, Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, Toronto)
    Winners in the English Canadian Food Culture Category, books that best illustrate Canada's rich culinary heritage and food culture are:
    • Gold: Anita Stewart, Anita Stewart's Canada (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, Toronto)
    • Silver: Webb, Margret, Apples to Oysters: A Food Lover's Tour of Canadian Farms (Penguin Group Canada, Toronto)
    Winners in the French Cookbook Category are:
    • Gold: Ricardo: parce qu'on a tous de la visite: cuisiner en toutes circonstances by Ricardo (Les Éditions La Presse, Montréal)
    • Silver: Gibier à poil et à plume: découper, apprêter et cuisiner by Jean-Paul Grappe (Les Éditions de l'Homme, Montréal)
    Winners in the French Special Interest Category (books about food, but not cookbooks) are:
    • Gold: Les vins du nouveau monde, tome 2 by Jacques Orhon, (Les Éditions de l'Homme, Montréal)
    • Silver: Répertoire des fromages du Québec, Édition augmentée by Richard Bizier et Roch Nadeau (Les Éditions du Trécarré-Groupe Librex inc., Montréal)
    Winner of the French Canadian Food Culture Category, books that best illustrate Canada's rich culinary heritage and food culture, is:
    • Gold: Québec capitale gastronomique par Anne L. Desjardins (Les Éditions La Presse, Montréal)
    The Edna Award is a special award in honour of food writer Edna Staebler that honours lifetime achievement by a an individual in the promotion of regional cuisine and who has exemplified regional cuisine through his or her work.
    • This year's recipient is Robert Arniel of Chef To Goin St John's, Newfoundland.
    Cuisine Canada's Founders Award is given on occasion to those Canadians who have achieved a lifetime of service to the culinary community of Canada. They may be come from any field of culinary endeavour.
    • This year's recipient is Judy Creighton.

    Gift from the sea

    When I was in middle school, I did a book report on Anne Morrow Lindinberg's Book from the Sea. My mother, the quintessential English teacher, suggested it to me. I found it uplifting and bright; it still reminds me of my mother.

    Lindinberg wrote the book while on vacation in Florida, where coincidentally, my parents spend their winters. She collected shells while she contemplated the American woman's experience.

    The ocean soothes us and clears our thoughts because it is full of magical things.

    Moons, tides, vastness.

    Even beyond the meditative benefits, there is enchantment in the sea. The oldest people in the world always live by the sea; in Canada, they're situated along the East Coast. Picture a Mediterranean village with its salt air and fish diet. People live forever.

    I believe nutrition is combination of things we know, like vitamins, and magical things we don't fully understand. I feel this way especially about the sea and its many fruits.

    I always feel a little witchy when I eat this dark-coloured salad, partly because it looks menacing and partly because of that magic nutrition .

    Wakame Salad

    50 g dried wakame seaweed (whole or cut)
    1.5 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
    1.5 tablespoons soy sauce
    1 tablespoon sesame oil
    1 teaspoon honey
    1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
    1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
    1 Granny Smith apple, cubed small
    1 scallion, thinly sliced
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
    1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted (I use them very liberally)
    1 tablespoon wasabi horseradish
    1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    Cut wakame into bite-sized pieces. Soak seaweed in enough warm water to cover for five or ten minutes. Drain; squeeze out excess water.

    If desired, heat honey gently to liquify it. Stir together vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, wasabi, pepper flakes, ginger and garlic in a bowl until honey is dissolved. Cube apple into small pieces and add to dressing with seaweed, scallion, and cilantro, tossing to combine well. Sprinkle liberally with sesame seeds.

    One man's gold

    Oh nut of crescent moon
    What is this gas they're emitting?

    An explosion of toxic fumes

    A headache above my eyes


    I discovered this wicked service called Blog2Print where they have developed software to make any blog into a book.

    All you need to do is select your blogging platform (Blogger, Wordpress or Typepad) and it puts together this gorgeous little PDF file where you can flip through a book of all your blog posts in sequence! You can select whether or not you want to include comments. (I wanted mine- so many fun memories!)

    I wound up ordering a hardcover version of the first 100 posts on Sift, Dust & Toss. You can also get a softcover book or order the PDF of your entire blog for about ten bucks, which is very useful to have all laid out nicely in one file.

    I thought it would be nice to have a tangible representation of my efforts; it felt great to hold it in my hand and look over all the writing I had done.

    My parents were impressed too! I think it really made it clear to them how hard I had been working since their generation places a greater value on books.

    All this said, I didn't think it would look as lovely as it did. Sift, Dust & Toss has a lot of pictures so I think that added to the Real Book Feel.

    I can't say enough good things about this service. It really surpassed my expectations. I was looking for a physical record of my writing and it came out looking so lovely and so professional. Highly recommended.

    Check it out:

    Supper Club? Silly me.

    Event Review

    Earlier this week, I attended The Roosevelt Room (<--slick website; I like Cut Copy) media launch soirée which promised much entertainment and a lavish sort of affair.

    Silly me. Being a food blogger, I was most excited about the food. The menu was inspired by the original dishes served at the first ever Academy Awards ceremony in 1929 and the executive chef, Trevor Wilkinson, was formerly executive chef at Toronto hot spots, Canoe, Jump and bain-of-my-existence-center-of-clubworld, Lobby.

    Silly me. Being a food blogger, I arrived on time, which I am accustomed to doing at most after work events.

    * tumbleweed blows *

    My feeling is that people are impatient after work and thinking about getting home. But then again, I don't operate in the fashionable worlds of Evan Biddell (cool website), Aliya Jasmine from MTV Canada, and Toronto's own socialite, Ainsley Kerr.

    Before I launch into a tyrade against the food, I thought it best that I describe some of the finer features of the evening as the public relations people did a lot of detail-oriented work.
    • Video monitors around the club displayed the black and white movie Sunrise from 1927, including slick screens in the bathroom.
    • Cigarette girls in costumes gave out candy cigarettes.
    • Flapper girls performed a dance routine.
    • Outside the venue was a red carpet where 10-15 fake paparazzi had been hired to make every guest feel like a star. Gimmicky, but cute. Danielle from Final Fashion has some great pictures here.
    • The interior of the Roosevelt Room is impressive. The Designer Guys were behind the accurate decor of the prohibition era.
    • They serve 1920s Prohibition-era Cocktails that range from $20-35 (gah!) and are made with fancy syrups like star anise & apricot. There were lots of foamy, fizzy drinks floating around.
    Sheryl Kirby from Taste T.O. cleverly pointed out yesterday that a place that purports to be a supper club should seemingly have a reasonable place to eat. Duly noted. When I arrived with my companion, we wandered around aimlessly to find a suitable place to eat and eventually perched ourselves awkwardly on a shaky table.

    Finally the food started circulating:
    • French onion soup - *very* salty
    • USDA prime mini burgers - I found them overly greasy with the brioche bun AND cheese AND prime meat
    • Torchon of foie gras with birch syrup - I like foie gras, but not pâté. I had to choke it down
    • Tuna niçoise on potato - Good, I can eat this
    • Steak Tartare - I started eating this & enjoyed it, panicked, realized there was too much raw meat, tossed it around in my mouth, tasted it, panicked again, somehow managed to swallow it
    That was the deal breaker.

    Ultimately, the food they served just wasn't my kind of food. I found it heavy, meaty, fatty, abundantly seasoned and rich. I like fresh flavours and balance - even when I'm eating rich foods.

    If you want to spend a lot of money and be surrounded by a bunch of wankers, I think The Roosevelt Room is shaping up to be #1 in Toronto.

    It opens to the public tonight.

    2 Drummond Place
    Toronto, ON M5V 0A5
    (416) 599-9000

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    Reviews & Transparency

    From time to time I may get invited to launch events for new restaurants or other interest groups. Such events include my experiences at Joey Don Mills, The Aquaculture Alliance's Seafood Extravaganaza or The Roosevelt Room. Charlie's Burgers or the Victoria Gin launch party are also examples. In these cases, my blog posts are typically event reviews and not restaurant reviews.

    In an effort to establish consistency on Sift, Dust & Toss, I won't give a formal restaurant review unless it is indicated in the title of the post & assigned a star anise ranking such as the following:

    Rating: 5/5
    Sock-knocking flavours & ideas

    Rating: 4/5
    Better than I would have made

    Rating: 3/5
    Good effort made

    Rating: 2/5
    Disapointing or basic

    Rating: 1/5
    Not good

    I've only done a couple of formal reviews for restaurants like Osteria, Ciceri e Tria and The Black Hoof because I wanted to devote more attention to them and maintain an exacting standard. Now that I've articulated and posted these ratings publicly, I hope to do more reviews in the future.

    For other policies about transparency on Sift, Dust & Toss, please refer to the blogging code.

    Dippin' into the happy sauce

    New Product

    If you try to eat well, you’ve probably heard of Happy Planet Foods, Inc, an organic food company based in Vancouver. They are mostly known for their juices and smoothies, but have recently come out with a series of natural sauces- as in you recognize all the ingredients listed.

    Oh joy! I love this stuff. (I was so excited when President’s Choice came out with their Butter Chicken sauce and other Indian simmer sauces.) I have a soft spot for Canadian companies, particularly heathy and organic Canadian companies.

    All Happy Planet products come from 100% natural ingredients and are made without preservatives, artificial ingredients or colourings.

    I think it’s a great alternative to eating frozen pizza. You add some protein (meat, legumes, tofu, tempeh, seitan, etc.), heat and eat. It’s ready quick and you don’t have to feel guilty for being a horrible-food-eating person.

    The flavours are:
    • French Mushroom Wine
    • Indian Butter Chicken
    Hold up! Most of the flavours are VEGAN! Keep reading:
    • Thai Yellow Curry (displayed above)
    • Spanish Red Pepper (displayed below)
    • Bengali Coconut Curry
    • Japanese Ginger Miso
    Happy Planet Natural Sauces are available across Canada in the refrigerated/deli section of many grocery stores, particularly those with a healthful interest.

    Visit the Happy Planet Website for more information.