TorontoJo's Profile

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How to brown cake edges?

When you say you line the pan with parchment, do you mean you're lining the sides, too? Any part of the cake that is lined with parchment will not be brown, as you end up peeling off the top layer of the cake. You need direct contact with the pan to get (and keep) browning.

And can you share the cake recipe you're using? Some cakes brown more than others, due to the ingredients (more sugar, more fat).

Chili Quesadillas

Once my quesadillas are browned on one side, they are stiff enough to flip with just a regular spatula.

Jul 04, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
1

One local's guide to Niagara-on-the-Lake and surrounding area (long!)

Backhouse is open! And it's wonderful. The space is gorgeous -- completely unrecognizable from it's previous incarnation as Stone Road Grille. Everything is house made and hyper local.

The current a la cart menu is small, with 8 items (including a bread and butter option). A friend and I ordered all 8 items, 1 dessert, 1 cocktail, 1 glass of sparkling wine, 1 bottle of sparkling water, 1 mocktail. I found this to be a perfect amount of food, as the portions are small. I would imagine that most people would want at least 3 or 4 dishes to make a meal. Our total bill, with tax, before tip was $167. I found that totally reasonable for the quality and variety of food and drink we had.

The tasting menu will start up in a week or so, after they get settled.

Great cocktail list, too. I'm looking forward to a casual meal of a wood-fired pizza and cocktails in the lounge area.

Chili Quesadillas

LOL! I meant flipping it with a spatula. But the sloppy spillage answer makes sense to me.

Jul 03, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

Chili Quesadillas

Makes sense, thanks!

Jul 03, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

VEGGIE SLAWS/COLESLAWS! Home Cooking Dish Of The Month (July 2015)

I love a simple vinegar slaw as a foil to heavy, meaty BBQ foods. This is the one I make for our annual pig roast and it's nice to have something crunchy, slightly sour, and slightly sweet with the pig, but that doesn't compete with the other dishes. The original recipe calls for a full cup of sugar, which is way sweeter than I like.

1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon celery seeds
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
1 large clove of garlic

Combine the first 7 ingredients, then micro-plane the garlic into the mixture. Whisk to blend and pour over your cabbage/veggie mix of choice. Definitely mix the slaw at least a few hours in advance and let sit at room temp to blend the flavors.

Jul 03, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

Chili Quesadillas

Now I need to make chili quesadillas this weekend. Fortunately, I have shredded beef chili in the freezer!

I'm curious why you don't just flip the quesadillas to brown the other side?

Jul 03, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

Eating near Four Points by Sheraton Niagara Falls Ontario

In which case, Moksha is definitely worth trying for a meal. Not the best Indian food I've had, but very respectable.

Eating near Four Points by Sheraton Niagara Falls Ontario

If you're willing to walk 10-15 minutes, my recs are:

Breakfast or lunch: The Regal Diner. You don't want to get breakfast anywhere else.
Lunch or dinner: Moksha Indian Bistro
Dinner: Napoli

House Warming Party

I totally agree with everyone here that a bbq with simple sides is the way to go. We're about to throw a backyard party for 100+ people and our sides are:

- mac and cheese
- baked beans
- vinegar cole slaw
- potato salad
- cuban salad (arugula, grilled pineapple, avocados)
- corn bread
- biscuits

Most things are make ahead, or at least prep ahead with a last minute assembly.

House Warming Party

Aww, I just read through this discussion and saw this shout out! Thank you all for your kind words...that was a fun party to pull together!

Changes at Bad Wolf and thoughts on Rickshaw Republic?

LOL, sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that your recs were high end. It was more a general comment that we're going pretty low key (low brow?) with a lot of our meals.

6 women, 5 days. Lots of eating. :)

And btw, I always enjoyed Carnivale when I was traveling to Chicago regularly, way back when. Glad to see they are still going strong! Mexique was on my original "maybe" list, but Frontera Grill got the Mexican slot.

May 27, 2015
TorontoJo in Chicago Area

Changes at Bad Wolf and thoughts on Rickshaw Republic?

Thank you! Right now, our itinerary (in no particular order) looks something like this:

Frontera Grill
Momotaro
Fat Rice
Girl and the Goat
The Publican
Crisp
The Aviary
The Violet Hour
Portillo's
Maxwell St. Market
Hot Chocolate (for desserts only)
LQ Chicken
Honey Butter
Dove's Luncheonette
Bongo Room
Bad Wolf (pastries)
Nico's Osteria (breakfast)
North Pond (Sunday brunch)
Blackbird (prix fixe lunch)
Random taquerias we run across
...and every doughnut shop in town.

As you can see, we're not going for high end in most cases.

May 27, 2015
TorontoJo in Chicago Area

Changes at Bad Wolf and thoughts on Rickshaw Republic?

Thank you for the feedback, Gourmet Wednesday. We do have one very good Indonesian restaurant in Toronto, so it's not an imperative for us. Though I will never understand why Indonesian food isn't more popular, as it's a wonderful cuisine.

May 27, 2015
TorontoJo in Chicago Area

Changes at Bad Wolf and thoughts on Rickshaw Republic?

Many thanks. That's a relief. :)

May 25, 2015
TorontoJo in Chicago Area

Changes at Bad Wolf and thoughts on Rickshaw Republic?

I read here that the owner/baker of Bad Wolf Coffee is moving? Does anyone have an update on that? I'm coming into town mid July, and the caneles and kouign amann there were on my list of must eats. I'll be very sad if they are no longer available!

Also, any thoughts on the rice table at Rickshaw Republic?

Thanks, Chicago hounds!

May 25, 2015
TorontoJo in Chicago Area

Grilled Cabbage

I was about to post that recipe. It's really delicious. Though it's much easier to eat if you cut up the cabbage after it comes off the grill, then toss it with the sauce.

May 10, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
1

I've heard that thawed food shouldn't be refrozen, but does that apply equally to everything? Is it OK to re-freeze bread?

Yep, it's ok. :)

May 05, 2015
TorontoJo in General Topics

Mother's Day Brunch - Help with menu please.

You can definitely skip the green salad if you have the asparagus! If you want a bit of brightness for your asparagus, you can sprinkle some lemon juice on it before roasting, or grate some lemon zest on it right after it comes out of the oven. Note that you can serve the roasted asparagus at room temp, so you can make it ahead of time.

Your brunch sounds like it will be wonderful and a big hit. Congratulations on your new home with all the space for entertaining!

May 03, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
1

Mother's Day Brunch - Help with menu please.

The revised menu looks great! Totally agree that you only need the classic waffle batter -- save yourself that extra step!

Roasted asparagus is a wonderful addition. I find that 8 minutes at 400 is when I pull it for thin spears, 10 for thicker, as I prefer a bit of bite left in my spears.

I agree with the person who said that you don't need cheese on your green salad, as you already have a cheese board. Instead, maybe dress the greens up with some fennel and citrus segments for a bit of bitterness and brightness.

May 03, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
1

Mother's Day Brunch - Help with menu please.

LOL, nothingswrong, clearly you and I were typing at the same time. :)

May 03, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

Mother's Day Brunch - Help with menu please.

I feel like there are a lot of bready items (waffles, assorted bread, banana bread, all the desserts) and not enough protein (e.g., bacon, ham, sausage) and vegetables (e.g., green salad, roasted veggies, steamed asparagus).

I think you could pull back a lot of the desserts, since the waffle bar and banana chocolate chip bread are very dessert-y.

Moist chocolatey chocolate cake recipe like a boxed mix?

Late to the game here, but I highly recommend my go to chocolate cake recipe. It's very similar to the Hershey's recipe above, but uses chocolate instead of cocoa. I'm pretty sure I got it off the back of a Bakers Chocolate box almost 30 years ago (yep, I started making this cake in high school). It's super moist and just the right level of chocolatey for me, and it's delicious with or without frosting. But I have to make my standard caveat: do NOT eat this the day you make it. It is a whole different animal after it rests at room temp for a day or two -- it gets moister and chocolatey-er with time.

EASY CHOCOLATE LAYER CAKE

8 oz semi-sweet or dark chocolate (TJ's pound plus dark is perfect)
3 c. flour
1 ½ c. sugar
2 t baking soda
1 t. salt
2 c. water (I use a cup of coffee in place of half the water)
2/3 c. vegetable oil
2 T. white vinegar
2 t. vanilla extract

Melt chocolate in microwave, stirring once or twice during heating. Cool slightly. Grease and flour two 9” round baking pans (be sure to grease the pans very well – the cake is so moist that it can be difficult to turn out – I use parchment rounds at the bottom). Stir together dry ingredients. Add melted chocolate and remaining ingredients. Beat on medium speed until thoroughly blended. Pour into pans. Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. Frost as desired.

Apr 23, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

Where to find monocalcium phosphate (to make 'Calcium Water' for Pomona Pectin Use)?

Nella Cucina carries the Powder for Texture line. You can see the entire catalog here:

http://www.powderfortexture.com/colle...

One local's guide to Niagara-on-the-Lake and surrounding area (long!)

Sadly, conservative and boring is par for the course for most places. It's like they assume that visitors want only one specific type of experience. It's a bit frustrating.

Having said that, Tide and Vine is excellent. The menu is small, but delicious. It's in Niagara Falls, rather than NOTL, but it's only 5 minutes past Ravine Vineyard. It's easy to miss, but just look for the small RBC plaza.

Have you done Trius? Frank Dodd is putting out some nice stuff, even though the menu looks a lot like all the others. And I prefer the atmosphere at Trius to the one at Peller. Also Ravine has a new chef this year, so that might be worth a re-visit?

And finally, the Oban Inn is not usually on my radar, but the owner is trying to shake things up there, so he's hired Jason Dobbie (formerly of Zee's) in the kitchen and Perry Johnson (former owner of Stone Road Grill) for front of house. I haven't been there yet to see what they're doing, but I'm throwing it out there.

What are you baking these days? Happy Spring better get here soon, April 2015 edition! [Old]

Those look great! I'm curious -- do you let the dough warm up out of the fridge before you scoop and bake? While I love the flavour that aging the dough gives, I've lost my ideal thin/crispy/chewy shape (what your cookies look like!). Instead, I get delicious, but fat/thick cookies.

Apr 10, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? Happy Spring better get here soon, April 2015 edition! [Old]

That's gorgeous looking pastry! I'm really excited to try this, thank you!

What are you baking these days? Happy Spring better get here soon, April 2015 edition! [Old]

Ooh, that sounds lovely -- care to share the pastry recipe?

Apr 08, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? Happy Spring better get here soon, April 2015 edition! [Old]

Always squares for those of us that love good crust. The corners are the best. :)

What are you baking these days? Happy Spring better get here soon, April 2015 edition! [Old]

Oh, great idea -- everyone loves coffee cake! And if you don't want to go to the trouble of your yeasted recipe, my mother-in-laws sour cream coffee cake is delicious, fast and easy to make. Happy to share the recipe if you'd like it.

Apr 06, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking