Archives for September 2006

Top Ten: Foodie Movies


If I can’t always be cooking in my kitchen, the next best thing is watching a foodie flick where culinary delights are being woven into a storyline, seeing a different culture and cuisine portrayed, and the observing the dynamics around a dinner table.
It was hard to narrow is down to just ten choices as there are so many films out there with moving and memorable food scenes. A few off the top of my head would be My Big Fat Greek Wedding, The Godfather, Monsoon Wedding, Moonstruck, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory…the list goes on. Food in movies is an expression of passion and can convey a subtle sensuality that rivals any average love scene. That scene in Godfather III where Vincent and Mary are making gnocchi is smokin’!

Here is my selection for my top ten favorite food movies in no particular order.

Also included is a suggestion of what to eat when you watch the film…I don’t know about you but I always get hungry during foodie movies.

Top Ten Foodie Movies:

1. Like Water For Chocolate (Mexican hot chocolate with cinnamon)
2. Babette’s Feast (stuffed quail)
3. Big Night (timpani)
4. Mostly Martha (steak)
5. Dinner Rush (pasta)
6. Spanglish (World’s Best Sandwich, recipe below)
7. Eat Drink Man Woman (wonton soup)
8. Addicted to Love (strawberries)
9. Chocolat (truffles)
10. Vatel (wine and cheese)

World’s Best Sandwich
(from the movie, Spanglish, invented by chef Thomas Keller)

3-4 slices of bacon
2 slices of Monterey Jack cheese
2 slices of toasted rustic country loaf (pain de campagne)
1 tbsp of mayo
4 tomato slices
2 leaves of butter lettuce (yes, it’s called butter lettuce)
1 teaspoon butter
1 egg

Preparation:

Cook the bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels.

Place slices of cheese on one side of toasted bread. Place in toaster oven or under broiler to melt.

Spread mayo on other slice of bread top with bacon, sliced tomato, and lettuce.

On non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Fry egg, turning over briefly when the bottom is set (keep yolk runny).

Slide finished egg on top of lettuce, top with other slice of bread.

Place sandwich on plate and slice in half, letting yolk run down sandwich.

WFD? A Fall Menu

What’s For Dinner?
Well, this was my haul from the market this morning. So many gorgeous fall fruits and vegetables to choose from! Also, a new bakery opened up there, so I am trying out an assortment of their breads. It was easy to get inspired for tonight’s simple menu:

Acorn Squash and Macintosh Apple Soup,
Candied Squash,
Roasted Garlic Crostini’s with Rosemary Ham and Gouda,
7-Spice Deep-Dish Apple Pie


Here’s the

SOUP recipe. It’s so fast to make:

1 small acorn squash, or other winter squash
1 apple, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1tbsp butter
1tbsp olive oil
chicken or vegetable stock, or filtered water
salt and pepper
½ cup 35% cream

Seed, peel, and thinly slice squash into two inch strips(like in the picture). In a large pot, melt butter and oil together until it bubbles. Add onion and sauté until onion is soft. Add squash and apple and just enough water or stock to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer until squash is tender. Transfer just the soup pulp into a blender, reserving the broth for another use. Puree the soup until smooth and velvety. Return to pot and add cream. Season with salt and pepper and heat gently. Serve.

For the candied squash, I just slow-roasted off a chunk in the oven with butter and brown sugar. Then I diced it up and dropped it in the soup for a little texture.

I make my own fresh apple pie spice using a blend of cinnamon, green cardamom, cloves, star anice, allspice, long pepper, and nutmeg. All spices are whole and I grind them just before using.
The result is an unforgettably perfumed pie.

This is the lazy-man’s apple pie. Just fold the over-hanging crust back onto the pie for an easy old-fashioned look. Glaze with beaten egg and milk and sprinkle with vanilla sugar. Mmm.

Weddings:Part I

Congratulations Eric and Caroline!
,
Danny and I having a tender moment during the wedding reception.=)


The Bourque immediate family. L toR: Richard, Danny and I, Chris, Michael, Eric and Caroline, Brian and Dorothy, Kevin and Melanie, Michel, and last but not least, Robert.

We welcomed a new member into the Bourque family on Saturday. Danny’s older brother Eric, married the beautiful Caroline and I now have another girl in the family to help balance out all the guys! I was having such a good time at the reception, I forgot to photograph the food, but it was delicious and nicely presented.

A brief summary:

Best moment:

The bridal party and guests spilling out into the steps of the church on Sherbrook Street and hearing the bells pealing and seeing all the smiles and stares from people passing by.

Worst moment:

Noah twice grabbing a fistful of my carefully coiffed hairdo in the church!

Most touching moment:

Eric choking back sobs as Caro comes down the aisle.

Sketchiest moment:

Eric’s 9-year-old cousin catching the garter and wearing it to the brunch the next morning. Aye!=) Too cute!!

Two more weddings to go.

Sassy Chef-ette

I think someday I’ll frame this one for my kitchen as a reminder of how cool and fun cooking is. Just look at her seasoning that fish. Tres chaud! I’ve misplaced my pants like hers, though. Bummer.

Mushroom mafia or ’37’


Nature alone is antique and the oldest art a mushroom.”
Thomas Carlyle My parents just returned from the Haida Guaii, otherwise known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, where they were picking wild mushrooms for mad cash. The Charlottes are located 300 km of the northwest coast of British Columbia and are a day’s trip from my parents place in New Hazelton. Sometimes called the Galapagos of the North, I have fond memories of that wild, lush place: BC’s own little tropics, it seemed to me.My parent’s had originally planned a four-day bike trip around the islands to relax and see the sights, but ended up hooking up with some mushroom-picking cronies, signing their souls over to the mushroom mafia, and staying three weeks for the remainder the chanterelle season. (more on the mafia later, it’s not a joke. I have to get the full story from my dad). They loved their time roaming the deep rainforest and picking chanterelles. My mum’s only complaint was:
“Some guys from Quebec pitched their tent right in front of the outhouse that doesn’t have a door!”I know these little chanterelle beauties (called giroles in French) from my three years at Toque! where I probably cooked enough of them to crust the entire Island of Montreal in a nice duxelles. We received more than just the one mushroom variety from the QC’s, there were morels, black trumpets and the infamous pine, too. The Montreal mushroom scene is pretty weird. It is mostly controlled by one family of Eastern European decent (don’t know where for sure) who are all in competition with each other.The guy I dealt with at Toque was called Serge, an elderly, short, stocky fellow who shuffled in with a basket over his arm, usually while we were in the middle of service. He would lean on the counter and wait for a lull, meanwhile checking out the girls with a gleam in his eyes. He was self-reputed to have, ahem, ‘done it’ with his wife 37 times in one night, and this seemed to be an undisputable fact that simply everyone knew about on the cooking scene. While he waited, usually one of the guys on the line would holler out,“Trente-sept, eh Serge?”to which he would straighten up, shake a finger at the cook and say,“OUI, trente-sept”.With my parents having picked them, and I having served them, it seems like we have had a mushroom ‘full circle’ moment, as Oprah would say. Ok, maybe we should reserve that term for something a little more monumental, but I though it was pretty cool.