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Lithographed tins

Yesterday we purchased "Simpkins Mixed Fruit Travel Sweets" which are sold in a beautiful, round metal container carrying excellent graphics from another mindset. We normally suck on Altoids, but filled their empty tin with Simpkins instead.

We store our various dry biscuits, crackers, etc in a beautiful old shortbread container with no brand id whatsoever. It originally contained Scottish shortbread and features a depiction from the Romantic Period.

To the best of my knowledge the last metal lithographer in Canada was a firm in Woodstock, Ontario and I recall it closing several years ago

It seems that only quality Euro products still do metal, and do it well enough to make us want to hold onto the container.

My question is, "Are any North American food products still offered in decorative metal containers?" If so, what are your favourites.

Apr 11, 2014
DockPotato in Not About Food

Bugs in Vegetables

Carrots are not such a good example for the problem of airborne dumpsters. Still, I agree - a vegetable or fruit field is nature's loo.

Apr 03, 2014
DockPotato in Not About Food

Bugs in Vegetables

We don't mind the odd bug, but try to avoid live ones.

No-one here has mentioned briefly soaking produce in brine and rinsing which kills and removes most "friendlies" as we call them in our house.

Dead ones lose their grip on leaf and rinse out more easily except for slugs which dissolve. Those we remove by inspection.

Apr 02, 2014
DockPotato in Not About Food

Misleading Names of Certain Preparations

Fly Cemetery, pronounced "flea symetry" in Scotland.

Cookies with raisins as I recall.

Apr 02, 2014
DockPotato in General Topics

What can I serve with Shepards Pie?

"...All you people suggesting salad with it! That would NEVER happen in the UK!..."

And so the colonies devolved. : )

A green salad is perfect.

Mar 31, 2014
DockPotato in Home Cooking

Milk in bags ... Are Canadians weird, or are Americans the weirdos?

I'm following this and have just realised how brilliant our bags are.

I haven't studied it it, but I'm sure 3 litre-pouches encased in plastic film require less material than a jug. Our jugs, where available, are reused (Or are they now? I know we used to be charged and credited 25 cents for the container.) so waste savings may be a wash, but handling, transport, effort and expense with the containers are all eliminated.

We are only the two of us and go through 3 litres in just over a week, so a 3 litre jug might just go off during that period. The smaller bags keep a long time if we happen to be gone for any length of days.

The smaller bags are easily managed in our fridge.

I seldom set foot in them so can anyone tell me if Mac's or Beckers still sell jugs here in Canada? They were known as "Jug Milk Stores" because of cheap milk in their holdout jugs.

Mar 31, 2014
DockPotato in General Topics

How to cook 3 pound boneless lamb shoulder roast (tied)? [pressure cooker or oven]?

No such problem for me ever.

The shoulder's been cut simply to remove the bone and perhaps miscellaneous bits. Mine are always still articulated and the gaps make seasoning pockets. If it's been rolled once, it can be rolled again. As I said - never been a problem for me. In fact this is a "feature" of boneless shoulder I enjoy.

Mar 29, 2014
DockPotato in Home Cooking

How to cook 3 pound boneless lamb shoulder roast (tied)? [pressure cooker or oven]?

Probably a shoulder roast. I do roughly what Gio does except I open up the roast to insert my rosemary and garlic and I also splash some soy sauce on it and then retie.

In the summer I like to do this on a bbq rotisserie over charcoal and slather some Dijon over the joint toward the end. When the piece shrinks to about 3/4 size I know I will find a pink centre.

Mar 29, 2014
DockPotato in Home Cooking

Things to do with cucumbers?

Oh yes, many times. It's an old Hungarian standby. I've never used the seedless cucumbers - just normal field cukes. These are not keepers, but meant to be eaten over a short time. They are very good.

By the way, you do have a "frikdge" to keep them in, no? : )

Mar 29, 2014
DockPotato in Home Cooking

Sap Run

Snow? Deep snow in Northumberland? Haa, haa, haa.

Fetch yourself down to Bruce County, old Goat. We'll send some snow back with you to supplement your shortfall.

Aye, it's been a hard winter all round and there is no laziness in tapping even on green grass.

Good luck with your crop.

Mar 26, 2014
DockPotato in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Sap Run

Excellent.

Mar 26, 2014
DockPotato in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Sap Run

Finally.

After a long spell of -10C and colder accompanied by seriously heavy dumps of snow up here and extended road closures we're breaking out. I'm thinking that the attached forecast for our area indicates that our sap run is about to commence - warm days, freezing nights.

There is concern however about how the severe winter will effect the run in that the frost line extends far below normal levels - some areas of our town are still on "drip alert" - running a trickle of water to prevent freezing of water mains. I imagine the same holds true all through sugar bush areas north of Toronto.

Last year's supply is long gone and I'm finally forced to a dubious bottle that tastes suspiciously sweet. It will do though until the darker B Grade comes available later in the run.

My trusted and quality supplier of many years has finally retired so I will have to explore a bit.

God, his product was good. Nice dog too.

Any other info elsewhere?

Mar 26, 2014
DockPotato in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Fish Recommendations

100% on gill removal. They go off very, very quickly. Also, if you obtain fresh, whole fish of any kind, and have to transport it any length of time, gut it, or have it gutted, as well and make sure that the dark deposit below the spine (the kidney) is removed.

OP may wish to sample fresh water fish - Yellow Perch, Walleye and Pike are all firm, white flesh with a mild taste.

Mar 26, 2014
DockPotato in General Topics

Why are expensive fresh herbs used in most recipes?

I can still get fresh thyme, tarragon, sage and marjoram. I just clear away the snow and am happy. Although many of our herbs can't survive our harsh winters they preserve well.

However there is now 3 feet of snow in the backyard and an even deeper drift over my small garden - that's after a period of thaw. I should be able to get at my plants again sometime next week. Until then we'll happily use dried.

Mar 22, 2014
DockPotato in Home Cooking

has anyone made their own sour cream?

Mar 17, 2014
DockPotato in Home Cooking

Are jumbo eggs crueler?

I pay from $C1,75 to $C2.50 per dz. to local non-quota farmers.

Their flocks reach an age where they can't produce and the eggs seem just average-sized before that - maybe a tad smaller. The hens are often processed and sold although I've never tried one.

When the new flock starts producing I'm offered "pee-wees" - usually @ $1 to $1.50 dz.

Yes, double yolks are common when the flock is at its prime - one producer tries to pack one in each carton.

Mar 15, 2014
DockPotato in General Topics

Your Best Recipe For Chicken Paprikash

No sour cream. And hot and more liquid.

My post prompted me to make up a pot last night. After my remarks about the peppers all I found in the fridge was half a red bell pepper which I used along with a bit of hot paprika. It was still very good.

We make the sour cream version as well and enjoy it just as much.

Mar 15, 2014
DockPotato in Home Cooking

Your Best Recipe For Chicken Paprikash

Here is a rustic version that I came across on Youtube. It calls for a whole, bone-in chicken which I regrettably avoid these days - I use skinless thighs.

----------------------------------------------
8 chicken thighs
1 large cooking onion roughly chopped
1 small tomato diced
2 peppers coarsely chopped
4 or 5 potatoes peeled and medium diced
1 clove of garlic finely minced
2 tbsp lard, bacon drippings or other fat
3 tbs sweet Hungarian paprika
salt to taste
water

I try to avoid bell peppers. I prefer shepherds, cubanelles or wax peppers. One of the peppers should be hot - a jalapeno or Hungarian hot.

Sautée the onion in a large pot over medium heat till translucent and then add the chicken. Brown until juices start to flow and then turn the heat to low.

Add the paprika, stirring constantly until the chicken is coated and then quickly add some water to prevent the paprika from scorching.

Add the pepper, garlic and tomato cover with water and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and enough water to completely cover everything. Simmer till the potatoes are done.
----------------------------------------------

For what it's worth I post the link, but it's in Hungarian. Note that our cook adds pinched dumplings as well, "csipetke", which I don't.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcnUej...

Mar 13, 2014
DockPotato in Home Cooking

Using up frozen tomatoes & peppers

Whenever I have your problem I make "lecso", the ultimate Hungarian side dish which can be further frozen after in serving portions.

It's one of those recipes we can't break. Every variation is good.

You may wish to start with these ratios:

2 peppers - green, yellow wax, cubanelles or whatever mild type;

1 large cooking onion chopped coarsely or very fine;

1 large, ripe tomato - or canned - or passatat;

Bacon fried for its fat, lard or oil;

Salt and black pepper to taste, and as an option, 1/2 tbs sweet Hungarian paprika.

Lecso is more a method than a recipe.

Start onions in whichever hot fat and when they are soft add the tomatoes, and let cook at medium until they are somewhat broken down. Add black pepper and salt to taste after a while.

Add the peppers and let simmer. At this stage you may wish to add some paprika and a bit of sugar.

What we are looking for here is the taste of the peppers against the tomatoes enhanced by the other ingredients. The final dish may be crude with pepper, onion slices and tomato slices; chunky or smooth.

Some good variations:

The fat can be bacon drippings or from incorporated lardons ;

Add thin slices of Csabai or other good smoked sausage for a main;

Incorporate rice into the mix with any of the above combinations.

Mar 06, 2014
DockPotato in Home Cooking

Milk in bags ... Are Canadians weird, or are Americans the weirdos?

You survived your infancy how?

Mar 02, 2014
DockPotato in General Topics

Milk in bags ... Are Canadians weird, or are Americans the weirdos?

Bags leak in handling at retail. It's common.

A quick inspection in the aisle tells us if we have a leaker - grab the bag and squeeze it gently (Gawd, I'm going back to tugging teats in the barn).

I have never heard of a bag bursting open. I'm not saying it never happens(ed).

Mar 02, 2014
DockPotato in General Topics

Heinz is closing its plant in Leamington

Here is another report:

http://blogs.windsorstar.com/2014/02/...

The deal had to be announced because now is the critical time for the growers. Hopefully they are now able to start setting up 2014 crops.

Feb 27, 2014
DockPotato in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

bay laurel "tree"!?!

Ours is 3 years old now.

It goes out on the deck in good weather and comes inside the kitchen patio door in winter. It seems fine which is amazing because other than the odd spritz of water we've done nothing.

Can anyone tell me exactly how this wee shrub is maintained? What's the feeding and watering regimen?

Oh, yes. I've recently learned that the plant should get a 1/4 turn each day.

And yes, it's a lovely herb and necessary for many of our dishes.

Feb 22, 2014
DockPotato in Gardening

Toronto's worst dives

Bad day when the Victory closed. They were nice folks. Seriously.

Ahh, Grossman's. Does it still survive? I hope so. Historically and culturally it's right up there with the Pilot.

I didn't know Acorn. If I said to you Gerry Lampert, Austin Clark or or Joe Rosenblat, would those resonate?

Feb 21, 2014
DockPotato in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Toronto's worst dives

Actually it did carry over: perhaps not as much. I encountered Arthur Handy at Cumberland well as another OCA instructor whose name escapes me now - he taught typography and lettering. Jack Bush was a regular as well even after he became established.

You see, there was a fondness of the owner and the bartender whose name escapes me - the one who had your drink waiting as you sat down at the bar even years after your last visit.

There were several good articles about his memory feats in the various papers. It was true. I sat down 7 or 8 years when work took me back and my Blue was waiting as I sat down with the exact amount of foam I preferred. If I was with someone else he always asked for my order.

Feb 21, 2014
DockPotato in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

The Old Toronto Restaurants you make the wishes for the comeback

Ah, yes. Thank you.

Governance was convoluted then.

Feb 20, 2014
DockPotato in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Toronto's worst dives

This is prompted by the "Old Toronto Restaurant" thread.

During the mid 60s the city was in transformation: garlic was slowly coming onto the stage; Italians were being accepted and slowly transforming the dining scene (and the picnic greens with their jugs); rare beef was gaining traction; Jews were long doing their real thing with places like the Tel Aviv, Hushys and elsewhere, and Hungarians had set up shop on Spadina/College and Bloor West - however the city was still a holdover from intra-bellum or even pre-WW1. Jacket and tie were mandatory at any eatery charging more than $2 for main so we were either refused entry or forced to wear a jacket and tie supplied by the house. Food was mandatory with drink and we were served up with stale crackers and cheese that were passed on later to the next patron. Think "Murdoch Mysteries".

In the 60s and 70s it was hard to find a bought meal on Sundays. No drink at all except for hair lotion or mouth wash at the pharmacies on the Yonge Street strip. Hard up students who roomed with no cooking allowed - that was prevalent. Young kids from wherever getting their first crap jobs to launch them wherever. But we had accommodating "plastic-tops" that catered to our needs most days and others who doled cheap draught.

On Sundays we cheated if our landlords allowed no food and they knew this. Both parties were paying for accommodation in their own way.

Bear in mind that we did not scruple in that era. We had pool rooms, burlesque joints and rough cops who reached for their jacks or billies to make their points. If you bothered no-one, you weren't bothered. It was good.

So, I'll start with the Brass Kettle. It was on McCaul near Darcy/Baldwin. A small, cramped, steamy place that was always warm in winter with a cheap, decent breakfast. It fed most of Toronto's down and out bettors - horse players. Great place with a nice vibe on cold morning.

Silver Dollar Tavern at Spadina and College. I've been in rough bars - hell.I worked in Detroit during the riots, but this bar is the only one I've ever sat in where I could view 4 fights simultaneously from my seat - one of then involving 2 guys pounding on a guy in the women's loo. And then 3 more outside.

The Brunswick House was also interesting at the time. Great music.

Fairbank Tavern was at one time a place I stopped for a beer on a hot Saturday while doing chores - intersection of 3 biker gangs but never any problem.

Lansdowne Tavern same as Fairbank - but in addition to bikers it had mafia guys.

In my student days I lived across from the Rex in a walkup. Then it was the "Wrecks" and a damned fine place it was after 10 when my assignments were complete.

I encountered these places simply because I couldn't sit in a small room, nor could I afford better, and that's where I was. Same with my friends at the time.

Many of you were there too and I'm interested in your recollections.

Before you knock me down on this, please acknowledge that Toronto is still a hard scrapple, vigorous place although I don't see it in the (your) media.

Feb 20, 2014
DockPotato in Ontario (inc. Toronto)
3

The Old Toronto Restaurants you make the wishes for the comeback

Godfrey was mayor then, no?

Feb 20, 2014
DockPotato in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

The Old Toronto Restaurants you make the wishes for the comeback

We ate in history there. The food was good and real. And inexpensive.

I'll never forgive powers that be for sacrificing the original Mary John's, a restaurant established to serve the Fort york Garrison after the War of 1812. My favourites were the stuffed beef heart with spanish sauce and the communal salad bowl you mention that circulated with home-made mayo dressing at student prices. The "unimproved" 17th century cottage was its own decor.
UoT and Ryerson, but also OCA and medical interns from hospital row ate llunch and dinner there.

It outstrips so much of our current dross and hype on so many levels and it's gone. Does anyone recall the year it closed?

Feb 20, 2014
DockPotato in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Questions about storing meat in single-serve portions?

Hee, hee. I wasn't "clarifying" for what you posted, rather for my clumsy prose.

Feb 19, 2014
DockPotato in Home Cooking