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Recipes You've Never Heard of Outside Your Family

Ooookay--there is no "official" recipe for this, so I'll try to describe things:

- Four or five medium cooking onions, chopped not too fine
- Whole milk or milk + half and half--more than a cup, but you'll judge this once the crackers get in the pot with the onions
- Butter, a couple of big tablespoons, or whatever tastes good to you--same with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg
- 1+ 1/2 to 2 sleeves of saltines [the salted ones--this is not health food]

Boil the onions in water to cover until they're quite soft but not dissolved.
Drain off most, but not quite all the water when the onions are cooked.
Crush the saltines--I just smash the sleeves a bit, then break the big bits up in the pot with the onions.
Add saltines to cooked onions--you don't need any heat at this point.
Start adding the milk/cream and stirring, until you get a relatively smooth texture,
Cook over low** heat, stirring, for a while until it's warmed through, then add whatever salt is needed, pepper, and butter. Now, my brother always uses a double boiler, but I've never been a fan of those, but...it will allow you to keep the stuff warm until everything else is ready. I use the warming part of my stove top, and give the pot/casserole dish a stir now and then to keep the onion porridge from sticking to/burning on the bottom.

You can't really put this stuff in the oven for very long, unless your oven can go to 200F or less for warming purposes.

There you go, traditional Toronto sludge. Excellent with turkey gravy.

And this item is definitely less swank than a southern casserole made with Vidalias, but I'd like to know about that dish.

Jan 17, 2015
pearl3 in Home Cooking

Recipes You've Never Heard of Outside Your Family

I've made my way through about 40 pages now, and I haven't yet seen a menu item unique [so far] to my father's family--onion porridge.

Crushed saltines, boiled and chopped cooking onions [drained], lots of butter, and milk or cream, with a little nutmeg to taste.
This is eaten at Christmas and/or Thanksgiving with the turkey instead of mashed potatoes.
It is not the British onion and bread thing--in fact, it's likely a "poverty food" from the Canadian Maritimes, from the sound of the ingredients.

The family is divided on this sludge--it's a love/loathe thing. Me, I love it.

Jan 09, 2015
pearl3 in Home Cooking
1

Did Metro stop carrying Claussen pickles?

Good point!

No, it's not, it's just a wide aisle, and neither is their pickles/condiments section. Interesting--do you think Claussen make "pasteurized" [for want of a better word] versions?

Jun 06, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Did Metro stop carrying Claussen pickles?

Peter's NoFrills at Dundas and Lansdowne has a big display of Claussen pickles in the middle aisle, where the "international" foods" are, today.

Jun 05, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

When can we expect fresh strawberries in Toronto

There are some listed as local that I've seen, but they're too large to be field berries because of their size. And they've been chilled, thus no smell/aroma.

If these are a bit under-ripe, they're fine for making jam, but so is an under-ripe imported strawberry for the same reason--higher pectin presence.

Nice, sweet, softish, small local strawberries do not stand a chance of being ready given the weather this year. And, if those nice little berries are genuinely ripe, they don't make particularly good jam--unless you use pectin.

Jun 05, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Toronto’s Best Butter Tarts Aren’t in Toronto

But I bought a couple of the BTs when I was at 7th Sister the other week. Quite okay, but not much more.

Clearly I am butter-tart tyrant...

Jun 03, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Toronto’s Best Butter Tarts Aren’t in Toronto

Who knew?

I still haven't hit a BT that made me weep, or that was even really memorable.

After freezing a couple of Tartistry's versions, I did figure something out--the pastry and filling are both too salty. Tastes good on first bite, then the salt hits.

Jun 03, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

The Old Toronto Restaurants you make the wishes for the comeback

Thanks!

I envy you those souvenirs and instantly recognized nearly every one--used to work on Bloor Street, so many of them were regular go-tos.

I'd really forgotten The Hind Quarter--that was upstairs from le Provencal, no?

May 29, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

ISO Chinese Ginger Vinegar

This is a small thing, but I became addicted to this stuff a few years ago--especially in ramen soup.

Before you suggest, I've tried making variants on it, but nothing adds up to this seemingly mundane little product.

Said ginger vinegar came in small [maybe 4 oz] glass, then plastic bottles, with a label showing a sampan or other Asian boat on it. Metro and a few other majors carried it, either in the "Asian foods" section or near the fish/sushi section.

Now, nobody seems to stock it. Anyone seen it?

May 29, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Toronto’s Best Butter Tarts Aren’t in Toronto

All right--the west-end butter tart tour may have concluded, Mr. K.

San Remo's tarts are very, very good. The crust is just a nice crust that counterbalances the sweet filling. No raisin tarts available yesterday, and I didn't want a pecan tart, so I bought a few plain BTs. I'd buy them again--nice, semi-firm consistency, clean taste and balance, a good size, and amazing prices! After visiting some trendified bakeries where BTs are nosing $5 a pop, I'm used to getting skinned.

However, for $15, I came out with 3 BTs, a custard tart, 2 sfogliatelle [a west-end Italian litmus test item], a loaf of bread, and a slice to eat in the car.

Unpretentious, good-quality cooking and baking, as always--and great service.

So, yeah, SR would be up there for me. Tartistry is maybe third--her pastry [strange thing to say] is a bit too rich and not enough contrast with the filling.

May 29, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)
1

Cross and Blackwell Seafood Sauce

I could swear I've seen it on Jutland at International Foods, but I haven't been in a while.

C & B are part of Smuckers' conglomerate--they're not out of business. Try this site: http://www.canadianfavourites.com/Cro...

May 27, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Ontario Asparagus

Most on-street vegetable stores have it--and there's local rhubarb, and fiddleheads, in some places.

May 25, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Toronto’s Best Butter Tarts Aren’t in Toronto

Tartistry--very nice owner, cute place--she's working hard to create a tearoom. Tough location on the Queensway, though.

Tarts are nice, good salt/sweet balance, nice not too thick crust--good overall, and because I liked the owner and her place, I'd go back.

The best ever, no, but very good.

May 23, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Toronto’s Best Butter Tarts Aren’t in Toronto

Is Max's still any good? Their Queensway second store [was roughly across from Tartistry, and in front of The Pie Commission] tanked really fast and their product was really limited and poor quality. Last time I was in the Bloor Street store, it was only a shadow of what it was five years or so ago.

Now, butter tarts. I've tried a few close by, like Mabels--you can keep them; the crust is okay, filling neutral with no salt balance, and Seven Sisters at the bottom of Roncy--absolutely nothing special at all, and kind of a dirty store, to boot, with grubby looking baked goods.

I've always made butter tarts, so my measure is [obviously], are these better than mine? How's the salt-to-sweet balance? Butter/shortening/lard crust? How good are the raisins? Nice large fresh Thompsons work the best.

I'll try Tartistry, but San Remo's next, because I've always loved the place.

May 21, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Toronto's worst dives

Thanks,kwf, I think my memory fell prey to the Eatons/Simpsons barrier referred to earlier.

I don't think I actually got off the subway in Simpsons until I was fifteen...

May 02, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Masterchef Canada

Oh, still watching all right--and was I rewarded!

Kaila goes home! It was worth it just for her facial expression in the seconds after she heard Marida's name [meaning Kaila was eliminated]: Kaila's TVQ went down the hopper.

Most of the time last night I was thinking how unsanitary her French-manicured fingernails were, actually.

Apr 22, 2014
pearl3 in Food Media & News

The Old Toronto Restaurants you make the wishes for the comeback

Yup! They did move up there, and I ate at that one for a while with family members who felt more "comfy" in north Toronto than they did in the Annex.

But, ah, after an afternoon matinee at the movie-house nearby on College [The Harder They Come springs to mind...], El Cid, the original, was the go-to of choice.

Apr 17, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

The Old Toronto Restaurants you make the wishes for the comeback

El Cid, maybe, was the one just west of Spadina?

At any rate, we used to love the calamari, zarzuela, and the infamous "porkmeat and clams," AKA the Inquisition Special at El Cid--it was all affordable, even for students at that point.

Now I remember the exterior of Don Quixote, and I think I got my Spanish heroes mixed up...

Apr 17, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

The Old Toronto Restaurants you make the wishes for the comeback

Czardas--the Flaming Attila Platter! Meat overload at its finest.

There was a Scandinavian-esque seafood restaurant I recall spiffier relatives taking me to in my late teens. I think it was on the west side of Bay, south of Czardas, and I was always impressed, not just by the food, but also by the cutlery [Dansk Odin--I was in the dinnerware business later] and overall execution of their concept. Now, I can't remember its name...

Also, maybe as downthread, its name was Don Quixote, but I recall a great cheap Spanish restaurant, north side of College, just west of Spadina. Anyone remember its name?

Apr 16, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

The Old Toronto Restaurants you make the wishes for the comeback

Ah, the Bloor Street vendoozie rule [see what a few English degrees gets you--a job as a saleslady] in those years: eat just about anything at the Copenhagen Room during the day, eat at le Provencal [or Windsor Arms] if someone else is paying, noon or night, and drink [never eat] at Toby's.

Used to love the Georg Jensen sterling cutlery across the road, too.

Apr 09, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

The Old Toronto Restaurants you make the wishes for the comeback

Where exactly, relative to Dundas and Bloor?

There was a really good Malaysian/Indonesian on Roncy two blocks below Howard Park [east side]. I still miss the Beef Rendang...and a spicy pork dish whose name eludes me.

Apr 09, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Masterchef Canada

Exactly--she makes a mess of something, and magically, nothing sticks to her high-heeled shoes, every time.

I think that's what I meant by the camera dogging her--an unsubtle tip if there ever was one.

Apr 09, 2014
pearl3 in Food Media & News

Masterchef Canada

The set reminds me of working trade shows, doing cooking demos in the 80s--water coming in through a hose and collecting in a pail under the counter...

The set is also more interesting than the show--last night's Hell's Kitchen-style competition made little sense and the doughnut showdown was only interesting in terms of watching Eric's sad-sack facial expressions.

I think I just watch it to loathe Kaila and her extensions--the camera tracks her like a hunter.

Apr 08, 2014
pearl3 in Food Media & News

The Old Toronto Restaurants you make the wishes for the comeback

Auberge Gavroche was on the west side of Avenue Road, so that lets it out as a possibility.

Apr 08, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

A quick look around the Cheese Boutique

I used to go a few times a year as well--when the owner's father owned it, and it was on Bloor West, I went more often.

The last few times, however, I've had similar experiences to yours. What finished me, though, were two types of cheese I purchased that had been stored incorrectly. Not being prissy here; both were inedible and on, or past the point of turning. Rancid cheese at those prices?

Apr 05, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Rhubarb

Metro [St Claire/Stockyards], NoFrills [Lansdowne and Dundas], vegetable guys on Roncesvalles, and veg. stores west of Bloor and Dundas [north side]--lots of rhubarb.

Mar 24, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Canned hominy

Peter's NoFrills [Dundas and Lansdowne] has canned hominy.

Mar 18, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Salad sauerkraut in Toronto

My pleasure! We've gone through two lots of it, and I'm glad we're talking about the same item.

Mar 17, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Steelite plates - where to find

Thanks! I look forward to finally going in!

Mar 08, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Salad sauerkraut in Toronto

An update, in case Linda is still interested.

What we call "sweet sauerkraut" is a spring thing and I think you maybe just missed it in February 2011. SuperK, the catering place just south of Benna's has it today.

And, for me, it's the real deal--carrots, shredded apple [some other mild sweet thing in there, too], green onions, and fresh herbs. I've been missing this stuff, and I'm going back tomorrow for more.

Mar 07, 2014
pearl3 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)