Wednesday, February 28, 2007

eating in montréal

Breakfast at Reservoir

Chocolate Creameux at Cluny Art Bar

Mac and Cheese at Montée de Lait

Hot chocolate from Les Chocolates de Cholé

Last year I visited Montréal for the first time and ate some fabulous and delicious food. This year I had the opportunity to visit two more times and wanted to share some of my favourite spots. Here is a slide show of my Montréal eating adventure.

Cluny Art Bar – Fantastic lunch spot, yummy desserts

Pintxo – Spanish tapas

Montée de Lait – Lovely restaurant specializing in delicious milk and cheese inspired dishes

Trois Petits Bouchons – Nice wine and supper spot

Reservoir – Good reliable breakfast and brunch

Schwartz’s – The one and only deli to get smoked meat sandwiches

Le Club Chasse et Peche – Possibly my favourite restaurant in Montréal serving top quality French food

Au Pied De Cochon – Everything Foie Gras you could ever want

Laloux – A lovely bistro with great desserts

Les Chocolates de Cholé – The best chocolate in Montréal

Santropol – Healthy and hardy sandwiches - homestyle

Patati Patata – Yummy mini burgers and poutine

If you are doing research on where to go to eat in Montréal check out the March 2006 issue of Gourmet Magazine and” the one and only Montréal Food Guide “ written by the lovely and knowledgeable Michelle and AJ of the blog An Endless Banquet.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

a trio of mini parfaits

Last week I experimented by making a trio of parfaits in mini shot glasses.
from left to right:

1. Vanilla bean panna cotta with fig balsamic and diced strawberries.
2. White chocolate creme brulee, a layer of orange creme brulee and a pecan praline topping.
3. Chocolate pots de creme with crushed chocolate wafers and a layer of carmel mousse.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

sweet seduction

It starts with a glance…
…or perhaps a touch.
It could be a sound…
…or a scent.
Sometimes it begins with a taste.
It entices and sometimes teases. It can be a glimpse of joys yet to come. It can be spicy, it can be hot, but most importantly (at least this time) seduction must be sweet.

- Jasmine of
Confessions of a Cardamom Addict

The theme for this months Sugar High Friday, SHF 28 is Sweet Seduction. This month, I decided to make two desserts. The first, being a dessert to seduce me and the second, to seduce someone else. Both desserts are incredibly easy. The first dessert is an orange salad made up of blood oranges, cara cara oranges and navel oranges. Pick good quality oranges and segment them. This second picture shows their individual colours which are intense and amazing. Oranges are currently at their peak. Apparently it is easy to seduce me, just give me a fresh simple orange salad.

The second dessert is a chocolate creameaux. Chocolate creameaux has a wonderful silky mouth feel much like pots de crème, but there is no baking involved. Simply make a cup of crème anglaise and pour it over 100 g. of chopped up dark chocolate. For easier mixing, place the chocolate in a food processor and pour the hot crème anglaise on top. Let the custard melt the chocolate for a few minutes before turning on the food processor. Process or mix the chocolate mixture until it is smooth. Pour into small cups or ramekins and let it set in the refrigerator for an hour before serving. This can be made a day in advance and is incredibly easy. Garnish with whipped cream, chocolate or raspeberries. It is one of those desserts that will impress and seduce just about any chocolate lover. Sadly, this would probably seduce me as well.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

tonka pots de crème

I learned about tonka beans last year during my first trip to Montrèal. I bought some from Olives et Épices, a fantastic specialty store selling spices, oils, vinegars and a host of other wonderful ingredients. The store, and pastry friends, instructed me that tonka must be heated (eg. through infusion in a cream or baked in a cake). I experimented with tonka crème brulèe and tonka ice cream, and although good, neither product stood out for me. During the past few years, I have seen tonka used in the desserts of several fine restaurants, both in Toronto and during my travels: I started to believe tonka had become trendy. I hadn't appreciated the flavour of tonka until I returned to Montrèal in January. On the trip, I had an amazing tonka pot de crème (served with an orange salad and cocoa nibs) at la Montèe de Lait. I liked the dessert so much that I thought I would recreate it at home. The result turned out very well, and I am enthusiastic to share the recipe. Instead of garnishing the pots de crème with cocoa nibs, I used a 70% dark chocolate, which also worked well. If you want to try the recipe with cocoa nibs, check out Whole Foods Market: they sell small bags of it.

Tonka Pots de Crème

2 cups 10% cream (light cream or half and half)
1 tsp grated tonka bean
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
1. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 3/4 cups of the light cream with the grated tonka bean until cream is scalding. Do not boil. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Beat egg yolks until they are pale in colour. Beat in the sugar, salt, and the remaining 1/4 cup of the light cream.
3. Gradually beat the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly.
4. Strain the mixture into a large measuring cup for easier pouring
5. Place pots de crème cups in a large pan with sides high enough to create a water-bath. Divide the mixture evenly into the cups. Pour hot water in the pan to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Cover the pan with aluminum foil or cover with the pot lids. Place in oven and bake at 350°F (180°C) until the custard is just set around the edges, approximately 30-35 minutes.
6. Carefully remove the pan from the oven. Leave pots de crème in pan in water bath, and allow them to cool to room temperature. Remove the pots de crème from water bath; cover them with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
7. Serve chilled pots de crème with segmented oranges and cocoa nibs or 70% chocolate.

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