Food and Drink: The Holiday Issue!

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So this may be about a week and a half too late……..

The LCBO Food and Drink magazine Holiday issue is out!!!!!!!!!!  If you don’t snag a copy in the first few days after it is released you could be S.O.L.

Perhaps that only means something if you reside in the Canadian province of Ontario but it is just too big an event for me not to comment on it.

The best news is that in the Autumn edition they announced that they would be launching a website in 2015 devoted entirely to Food and Drink.  Now the World Wide World will have access to all the lovely content of this publicly funded magazine.  (The whole LCBO “privatize or not” issue can wait for another post.)

The Holiday issue is always highly anticipated.  It usually has some great recipes for entertaining and decor ideas to make your home a festive.

I have been through this years issue, front to back, a bazillion times already.  I was really attracted to the cover photo recipe and decided to give it a go.  It is in the Dinner Party Pasta feature that suggests pasta is an easy option for dinner hosting newbies.

Although not super complicated, it was still one that required the purchase of some items you wouldn’t normally have in your pantry and multiple prep steps that, for me, wouldn’t put it in the easy category.

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The recipe called for wine so I figured I should pour myself some. :-)

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Here is my creation.

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Maybe not as pretty as the cover photo but it was delicious.

In the end, it was so worth it.  Beets, ricotta cheese, butter, wine, pasta OMG! the deep-fried sage (I was eating that stuff like candy)–nothing else was required!  (Recipe is not yet on the LCBO website so I scanned my copy–beet juice stain and all.)

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Now what to do with the extra ricotta cheese?……maybe I will try the Spiced Ricotta Fritters with Grand Marnier Syrup.  Yum!

Did you get your copy? (mark it on your calendar–the winter issue is available January 14th.)

 

Asparagus Gruyere Tart

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Yes, it is asparagus season again.  Yay!

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We are so fortunate to have a large farm close by that grows nothing but this tasty and versatile vegetable.  As with many seasonal veggies, it is best to savor its flavour when it is in season and at its peak.

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Despite this, I decided to try to preserve some by pickling it, much like the dilly beans last year.

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I asked a friend of mine for her recipe for picked asparagus and along with it, she sent a Canadian Living recipe for this very delicious tart. It is a recipe she describes as simple but one that looks and tastes devine.

Whether you serve it as an appetizer or light lunch option with a salad,  it is just one more way to enjoy this lovely spring vegetable while it is in season.

Baked Rum Raisin Rice Pudding

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In Monday’s post, Denise talked about some of the symptoms of S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder).  One of them was the craving for sweet and starchy foods.  Well, that would be me this time of year.  I just cannot seem to get enough.

To me it is just comfort food and eaten in moderation, can help lift my spirits on a cold, dreary winter day.  It is all good.

This recipe has got to be THE best rice pudding I have ever tasted.  I was surprised when I went on the Canadian Living website to get the recipe link to see that it had been rated 3 stars.  Are you kidding me!  This luscious dessert forms a creamy custard topping that is to die for.  My husband and I managed to eat a large swath out of the pudding before it had even cooled.  Once you have a taste you just cannot help yourself.

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Added to that, is the way the rum soaked raisin impart the flavour of a warming Hot Toddy.  It says to soak the raisins for 1 to 24 hours.  I have never done the 24 hours .  I usually soak for about 4 which leaves some of the rum still unabsorbed by the raisins. They don’t say whether you should drain them before adding.  I figure if I soaked the full 24 hours all the rum would be absorbed so either way it should all go in.

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Another change I made this time was I used Jasmine rice.  What a nice flavour change.  Its texture and nutty taste worked perfectly with this recipe.  Oh yes, and I also added a splash of pure vanilla extract.

Now that I think about it, maybe these changes are why I would give this dessert the higher rating.  I suppose food is like wine; we have our own personal preferences.

Do me a favour.  Try this recipe (original or with my tweaks) and let me know how you would rate it.

Ontario Apple Season has begun.

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Many of Ontario’s orchards are located along the shores of Lake Ontario with some of the very best right here in Prince Edward County.

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This week we stopped at a local orchard on our way to visit my husband’s father.  We wanted top pick up some sweet corn for him and this particular orchard also grew fresh produce.  I couldn’t resist buying some of their early season apples, Paula Red, for myself.  They were crisp, a little sweet and a little tart–just delicious.

Of course, this lead to the inevitable.  I had to make a dish of apple crisp.  It just happened that my refrigerator crisper had some apples that had been hanging around for a while.  In order to make room for my new crop, I cleared out the Granny Smith  and combined them with a few of the Paula Red.

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I use a recipe from my Joy of Cooking cookbook that I got as a wedding shower gift a year or two ago (Yeah, right!   It will be 30 years in February).  I couldn’t find the recipe on-line so I have just taken a picture of the recipe for you.

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I followed the recipe, adding the cinnamon but also adding 1 cup of large flake oats to the topping mixture.  Just for a change and to enhance the flavour a bit, I also added a few frozen blueberries I had picked earlier this summer.

Using a variety of apples enhances the flavour and texture.

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Ready for the oven.  I haven’t had one drip over but I still always put a drip pan under just in case.

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Delicious, if I do say so myself!  Soon all the apple varieties will be ready to taste.  Honey crisp, Crispin, and Empire are some of my favourites.

How about you?  Are you planning a trip to your local orchard?

 

Photo Credit:  1