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Whetstone (3000) Edmonton [moved from the Canada board]

Have you tried Lee Valley? They have an extensive sharpening section. I'm a big fan of waterstones:

They even have an outlet in Edmonton.

Dec 22, 2009
rld in Prairie Provinces

Where to buy unmilled wheat?

Bulk Barns carry hard and soft wheat berries. These can be cooked or milled. Health food stores often sell wheat berries, and other un-milled grains such as barley, spelt and rye. I often buy my grains online from Oak Manor Farms (located near Kitchener):

They have great prices and a good selection, plus many of the grains are Ontario grown. Look for the hard red spring wheat for bread making.

Nov 23, 2009
rld in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Olives in Toronto

I'm afraid anything other than an olive tree in a container (or heated greenhouse) is out of the question in Toronto. Most olive trees are only hardy to roughly -8 C, and not for sustained periods.

Toronto cookbook author Jennifer McLagan writes about her "Mediterranean Trinity" in her blog:

I have a fig in a container that's living on my south facing porch right now. I'd love to add an olive tree as well. I've found a very interesting company in Quebec, Flora Exotica, that sells an amazing array of exotic (by Canadian standards) plants, including olives: (second item in list


I haven't ordered from Flora Exotica yet, so I can't comment on the company.

Sep 16, 2009
rld in Gardening

Best pub in the Yonge/Eglinton area

I have to agree with MattB on this one. If only kit beers tasted this good! I'm not fond of the food at the Granite, but the beer is outstanding. Plus, they have a great patio out back in a garden like setting.

Of course, nobody can tell you what kind of beer you like, but you might consider giving the Granite a another try.

To the OP, the Granite has a great selection of English style ales, as fresh as you could hope for. It's not a great choice if you are looking for a specific brand or a beer that falls outside of the English style.

Sep 16, 2009
rld in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Fresh grape leaves?

I've used wild grape leaves in my dill pickles, picked from a park. This year I'm using oak leaves. These are even easier to find, usually as a city planted tree.

It really is worth the effort to add grape or oak leaves to your fermenting crock. In my experience, the pickles are crisper. I also trim off the blossom end of the cuke. Apparently it contains enzymes that speed ripening and contribute to mushy pickles.

Sep 01, 2009
rld in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Meyer Lemon Plant - London, Ontario

Here's an interesting thread from a gardening forum:

It looks like Terra Greenhouses would be your best bet. I live in the GTA and I'm interested in having a lemon tree in a container as well. I assume they only bring in lemon trees now and then.

Aug 19, 2009
rld in Gardening

Morels in S. Ontario

I'm curious (and very jealous) about your backyard. What types of trees are growing back there? I have a lot of mushrooms in my yard, but never morels.

I hope you enjoyed your black morels and keep your fingers crossed for next spring.

May 13, 2009
rld in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Braising: Copper or Cast Iron?

That's an interesting point David: How do you know the temperature is even throughout the oven? Over time, cooking many different things in the same oven, I suppose we learn what to expect and how to get consistent results. I'm sometimes surprised how differently a familiar dish cooks in a friend's oven compared to my own. I'm not talking about the difference between convection, gas, or commercial - just generic electric home oven.

In my example, I had the LC and the copper side by side on a middle rack in an electric oven. It definitely wasn't a high-end model, but it did have an electronic thermostat (convenient, but not necessarily accurate). After about two hours, the LC ribs were removed and the copper pan was shifted to the middle of the oven, and just kept cooking and cooking...

I often rotate dishes 180-degrees in the oven (like yesterday's quiche), but not with LC braises. They just seem to be cooking evenly as is. I do like using low temperatures and only using a parchment lid. I find you end reaching boiling temperatures fairly quickly in a 300F oven with the LC lid on. I like using the old rule-of-thumb of letting the braising liquid 'smile' but not boil. Braising of course is the opposite of a quick technique so I don't have a problem with braise taking most of an afternoon. It tells you when it's finished.

Now that it's summer, I don't really want to braise, but this discussion sure makes me want to try a few more things out!

May 04, 2009
rld in Cookware

Braising: Copper or Cast Iron?

I think the liquid released from the meat and veg made up for the evaporation. This low temp braising is a phase I'm going through - gotta keep things interesting. It's easy to do if you can braise the day before and reheat at meal time.

My inner geek would like to attempt this with different pots, at different temps, and in different ovens. Maybe Cooks Illustrated has already researched this for all I know!

Getting back to the OP, there is absolutely nothing wrong with braising in copper (or stainless, or ceramic). Ultimately, you have to pay attention to how your dish is coming along. Give it a little more time if the meat isn't tender, add a little more liquid, or whatever else it may need. That's what makes it rewarding.


Apr 30, 2009
rld in Cookware

Braising: Copper or Cast Iron?

I'm the first to acknowledge this was not a controlled experiment and that I may be overlooking something. The truth is the results were so different, I'm not in a hurry to repeat the experiment :-)

They ribs were cooked in the same (electric) oven, at the same time, with the same ribs, same vegetables (onions), and the same veal stock. The ingredients were split into two pots because of the large quantity of food I was preparing. I used enough stock to reach the halfway up the ribs. They had parchment covers and I didn't use the pot lids. Evaporation was minimal (low oven temp), so I didn't need to top up either pot. The end result was that the LC ribs cooked faster and turned out better (in my opinion) than the ribs cooked in the copper pan.

It may have simply been the LC provided a steadier temperatures as the electric oven cycled on and off than the responsive copper pan. Or, it may be something else entirely...

Apr 30, 2009
rld in Cookware


Try some Alton Brown Good Eats pickles. These are fermented, like a good Kosher deli's:

This is basically how I make mine. I'm growing some heirloom cukes this summer for my pickling. Should be tasty.

A good book on lacto pickling is 'Wild Fermentation' by Sandor Katz.

Apr 30, 2009
rld in Home Cooking

Braising: Copper or Cast Iron?

That's a great description. I'll add that I cut the tip of the folded triangle off (third photo) so that I end up with a small hole in the centre of the lid.

Apr 30, 2009
rld in Cookware

Braising: Copper or Cast Iron?

No problem.

A lot of cooks/chefs, including Thomas Keller of The French Laundry, cover the braise with a lid made of parchment paper. (The same paper you'd use under cookies on a baking sheet). The paper sits on the food, inside the pot. It allows some evaporation, helping concentrating flavours in the braising liquid, yet it still maintains a 'wet' cooking environment. Here's a chowhound thread all about it:

I sometimes use the parchment AND the pot lid, but more often than not I skip the lid.

This site has a photo of a parchment lid:

Good luck!

Apr 30, 2009
rld in Cookware

Sausage-Making Supplies

I agree with embee about and their website. They have everything you need, but the site needs a major overhaul. It almost scared me away the first time, but they have everything and you don't have to deal with border issues. I've purchased #1 and #2 curing salts and starter cultures from them. They also sell artificial casings. I've managed to buy natural casings locally, from both Longos and Weston Produce.

Apr 30, 2009
rld in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Braising: Copper or Cast Iron?

For braising, I vote for Le Creuset, and here's why: Last Christmas I made braised beef short ribs for a group of eight. Normally I'd only use my 7 quart Le Creuset round Dutch oven for a dish like this, but it wasn't large enough for all the ribs, so I also used a large straight sided saute pan in tin-lined copper. It's 2.5 mm copper and I love it for sautes.Granted, the copper pot has slightly lower sides, but otherwise, the main difference is material.

I couldn't believe the difference in the time and quality of the ribs between the two pots. The ribs in the Le Crueset were fork tender in roughly 2 hours, juicy and succulent - just what I was expecting. The ribs in the copper pan needed 4+ hours, and never did amount to much. They never became truly tender, and managed to become more or less dry and stringy. Not horrible, but they could have been so much more.

BTW, I braise at low temperatures (225 - 250 F) and I use a parchment lid (inspired by Thomas Keller). This may not have been appropriate for the copper pan, but it has always served me well in the past. I think the greater mass of the Le Crueset makes all the difference.

Just a data point for you to consider. Others may have better luck with copper.

Apr 30, 2009
rld in Cookware

Fave Ontario Beer

I'd recommend Iron Duke from Wellington Brewery. It's dark, complex and malty. A little difficult to find sometimes, but the larger Beer Stores usually have some. Not the best beer to drink in the sun, but perfect by the fire after sunset.

Aug 21, 2008
rld in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Juniper berries

There was a discussion a few months ago:

Aug 19, 2008
rld in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

ISO Puy Lentils

Loblaws sells NuPak brand, Saskatchewan grown "French Dupuy Lentils". They are $0.99 for a 450g bag. The first time I saw these I was surprised at the price. The bag doesn't indicate where they are grown, so I phoned the Shah Trading Co (parent of NuPak) and a very helpful person in customer service confirmed these are Saskatchewan grown lentils.

I've never tried true Puy lentils, so I can't say how they compare. The NuPak Dupuy lentils are tiny and blue-green, and they made a great lentil salad. I'd definitely buy them again.

May 09, 2008
rld in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Unionville Patio's

Jake's on Main (Main Street Unionville) has a large patio in a pleasant setting. The food is typical pub grub - nothing to get excited about. It will be very busy today.

Apr 18, 2008
rld in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Source for unroasted/green coffee beans downtown?

And Birds and Beans:

We are very fortunate to have so many choices for green beans in the GTA. Good luck with your first roasting attempt. Be sure to roast outside - it generates a lot of smoke...

Apr 16, 2008
rld in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Juniper berries??

I buy mine at Bruno's, in the spice section. Juniper berries are worth seeking out - they especially work well in meat dishes. I've always wondered if I could use the berries (it's actually a cone) from the junipers in my yard. My understanding is only some varieties are suitable for cooking and not knowing which is which, I end up buying them...

Feb 28, 2008
rld in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

ISO - (pink) curing salt

In Search Of

Feb 15, 2008
rld in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

ISO - (pink) curing salt

This thread from the Ontario board discusses various curing salts:

I haven't tried buying any locally. I'm just as happy to buy it online from a Canadian vendor and have it delivered! Although, I think it would be great if the Healthy Butcher decided to carry it...

Feb 14, 2008
rld in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Gastronomica in GTA?

Like cybergod mentioned, it's only available by subscription or through ordering back issues. I agree the Art of Eating is excellent and well worth the money (especially with our dollar at par!). Back issues sell for $12 if you wanted to test the waters. As you can see from the descriptions of previous issues on the website, the focus is strongly on Italy and France.

Jan 29, 2008
rld in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Michael Pollan - In Defense of Food

It's a very good read and I'd recommend it to anyone. He was interviewed on Canadian radio last week.

Jan 16, 2008
rld in Food Media & News

Best cheese at Costco [Moved from General Topics board]

Costco has great cheeses at great prices, but I'm partial to the raw milk Gruyères.

Jan 16, 2008
rld in Chains

Looking for saltpeter (to cure bacon)

I use sodium nitrite (not sodium nitrate!) to cure bacon, pancetta and brisket. It's usually mixed with regular salt and sold as Prague powder #1, Insta Cure #1 or DQ cure #1. I bought mine online from a company in BC, , for about $6 a pound. It'll make a lot of bacon. I weigh it out on a digital scale that has 0.1 gram accuracy (overkill in this application).

I've never used saltpeter for curing as most recipes call for sodium nitrite these days.

Dec 10, 2007
rld in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Parent's 50th birthday, in richmondhill/vaughn...

I'd recommend the 'Richmond Grill' for this special occasion. We've always had great service and the food is excellent. Food leans towards Mediterranean, but you can definitely get steak and potatoes too. I don't think they have a website. It's at 10165 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill, just north of Major Mac.

Nov 28, 2007
rld in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best Dry-Aged Steak in GTA?

A butcher at the Richmond Hill Bruno's did tell me they supply the dry aged beef to North 44. This was a few years ago, so it may no longer be the case.

Nov 22, 2007
rld in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

ISO high-quality pizza stone

I'll agree with Nyleve too. The tiles are cheap and effective. I bake breads on them as well. I've never had one crack (even when I create steam with a spray bottle) and they store easily when you need the oven for something else. Try Home Depot or Rona.

Nov 15, 2007
rld in Ontario (inc. Toronto)