Monthly Archives: April 2012

Secret Pickle Supper Club Documentary


Yes, you heard it right – The Secret Pickle Supper Club has made a documentary featuring the latest Secret Pickle at the St. Lawrence Market. I recently wrote about my first Secret Pickle experience here, which is now featured in the documentary.

Yours truly is in several shots (5 seconds in, 3:02 min in and 6:17 m in), albeit some of them behind my trusted camera 🙂

This is super exciting!

See the DOCUMENTARY here! Enjoy!

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Spring Time Baking Fun: Avocado Pound Cake and Profiteroles with Spiced Mango Mojito Sauce


Profiteroles with Mango Mojito Sauce

I love desserts that are light tasting and fruity – especially in the spring. Everything is in bloom, the brighter weather has started – the energy of the spring is here! The brighter weather makes you want to dress in your pretty colourful clothes that have been burried in the back of the closet for what seems like eternity! It makes you want to party!

Profiteroles with Mango Mojito Sauce

My friend Emily has generously offered me a guest post on her very popular blog about fashion and all things pretty – Party Mix Tape.   She said… make something fun, spring-inspired, something that makes you want to party!
So I thought about fun, bright, light-tasting desserts, and the first one that came to mind was Profiteroles with Mango Mojito Sauce. How can you party without Mojitos? And best of all, it’s in a dessert!

Profiteroles with Mango Mojito Sauce

These little babies I found in my favourite cookbook – Bon Appetit Desserts, and I was very intrigued by the mojito mango combination 🙂
The timing was perfect because this last weekend was also the Orthodox Easter, so I told my mom not to worry about dessert – I would be bringing two!

The dough follows the typical profiterole/cream puff instructions – melting butter with milk, adding dough and cooking it on the stove for a few minutes before adding eggs. The dough should come out soft and sticky. If you have an ice cream scoop, it would be the best way to drop these onto a cookie sheet. They will come out even. Make sure to dip the scoop in hot water between each so they come out easier.  The recipe for the puffs may look a bit involved, but the whole process takes less than 1.5 hours, because you can do the filling and the sauce while the profiteroles are baking, and the assembly is done just right before eating.

Profiteroles with Mango Mojito Sauce

I should mention that this dessert also takes a bit of planning – case in point – mangoes. At least 6 mangoes are required and they have to be soft and sweet. So, buy your mangoes well in advance if you can’t find soft ones. Because the profiterole dough has no sugar and the filling very little, most of the sweetness should come from the mango, so it’s even more important that they are ripe and sweet.

I bought my rock hard mangoes a few days ahead, thinking they would soften in time. Well, they didn’t. And, along with a few other things that I forgot about, like taking the butter out to soften, having an electric mixer and forgetting to buy sugar and limes…this fun baking day wasn’t getting off to a good start. The worst thing was that Easter was tomorrow, I promised my mom I would bake, I promised Emily I would have the guest post done this week, and everything was closed tomorrow! Things had to be done in the next 3 hours! For a calm person, I was seriously freaking out.

Profiteroles with Mango Mojito Sauce

D tried to calm me down, and offered to bring his mixer and go look for ripe mangoes. Half an hour later, and luckily for me, he came back with super soft, super sweet mango heaven 🙂 Everything was back on track again 🙂

The profiteroles puff up when they bake, but stay hollow in the middle – perfect for filling. They can stand for 2-3 days but the longer they sit, the harder they get, so they should really get eaten in the first 1-2 days for maximum freshness.

Avocado Pound Cake

The second recipe I picked was the one I found on Epicurious, and it left me quite intrigued. Avocado. In a pound cake? But, after discovering the delicious avocado pudding a few weeks ago, I decided that it was worth a try.

Avocado Pound Cake

The recipe makes a double batch, and I believe the dough can keep for a few days, or be frozen.
This loaf is the perfect way to use up your ripe mushy avocados (if you don’t want guacamole), and you can use some on top for decoration. My favourite thing about this loaf is that it’s lime green inside – so pretty and so much fun! It’s very moist – perfect for having with tea.

Avocado Pound Cake

I’m excited for the spring and the warm weather and bike rides.

Until next time, happy eating!

Toodles

Avocado Pound Cake

Update:  Check out my guest post on Emily’s PartyMixTape – HERE

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Click on each photo to view the high resolution images.

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RECIPES

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Avocado Pound Cake

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons ripe mashed avocados
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
Place a rack in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9×5-inch loaf pans and set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
 
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add avocado and beat for another 2 minutes. Stop mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
 
Add eggs, one at a time, beating on medium speed for 1 minute after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape down to make sure everything is thoroughly mixed. Beat in vanilla.
 
With the mixer on low speed, add half of the flour mixture. Beat until just incorporated. Add the buttermilk and the remaining flour mixture. Beat until just incorporated. Remove bowl from the stand mixer, and finish incorporating the batter with a spatula.
 
Divide the batter between the pans and bake on alternating racks for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, rotate racks and bake for another 15 to 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 20 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
 
Cake will last, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 4 days.

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Mango Profiteroles with Mango Mojito Sauce

Ingredients:
Puffs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
Filling
  • 2 cups 1/3-inch cubes peeled pitted mango (from about 4 large; see Test-Kitchen Tip below for details)
  • 1 cup chilled sour cream
  • 1 cup chilled whipping cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, divided
Spiced Mango-Mojito Sauce
  • 2 large mangoes, peeled, pitted, diced
  • 6 tablespoons plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons (or more) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons spiced rum
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Key lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (packed) finely chopped fresh mint
Preparation:
Profiteroles:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Bring milk, butter, and salt to boil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until butter melts. Add flour all at once. Reduce heat to medium and stir with wooden spoon until dough forms ball and some batter films bottom of pan thickly, about 4 minutes. Transfer dough to medium bowl and cool 5 minutes. Using electric mixer, beat in eggs and yolks 1 at a time.
Drop dough by generous tablespoonfuls 3 inches apart onto baking sheets, making about 24 puffs. Smooth tops with wet fingertips.
Bake puffs 15 minutes. Reverse sheets and bake puffs until deep golden, about 10 minutes longer. Make small slit in side of each puff. Return to oven, turn off heat, and let dry 15 minutes. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)
 
Filling:
Stir mango and sour cream in medium bowl to blend. Beat whipping cream and 1/2 cup powdered sugar in large bowl until peaks form. Fold whipped cream into mango mixture. Cover bowl; refrigerate filling at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.
Cut cream puffs horizontally in half. Spoon heaping tablespoon filling into each bottom half; cover with tops. Sift remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar over.
Divide cream puffs among 8 plates. Spoon sauce onto plates and serve.
 
Spicy Mango-Mojito Sauce
Purée mangoes in blender or processor until smooth. Transfer 1 1/2 cups purée to medium bowl (reserve remaining purée for another use). Mix yogurt, 4 tablespoons sugar, spiced rum, fresh lime juice, and chopped mint into purée. Sweeten sauce to taste with more sugar, if desired. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Secret Pickle Supper Club – A Delicious Surprise


Secret Pickle Supper Club

“Make sure you’re free on the 31st” D said to me several weeks ago. So, I promptly went in my calendar and blocked off the 31st.

Why? “It’s a surprise” he said. Hmm. A surprise. I thought about what it could be but then decided not to try and figure it out. I wanted it to really be a surprise. And in a million years, I would have never guessed. We arrived at the St. Lawrence Market at 7:30 PM sharp (did you know that the St. Lawrence market was recently elected by National Geographic to be the best market in the world!).

We were given waiver forms to fill out – apparently there would be cameras and if we didn’t want to be filmed, we had to be seated in certain areas. Now I really had no idea what we were there for. We get upstairs into the Market Kitchen –  a huge, open area with beautiful views of the Front Street Iron Building and the CN Tower. There is an open cooking area, and three large tables set with utensils and wine glasses. “Maybe we are here to watch a cooking show” I wondered. It certainly looked like a studio kitchen. We are greeted by a cheery lovely lady telling us to make sure we get a cocktail.

Secret Pickle Supper Club

Cocktail? Gin-Tonic Con Los Jarabes de Inspiración. The flavours? Paprika, Pink Peppercorn, Lavender Orange and Cardamom Orange. D was adventurous with Paprika (it made for a more interesting photo – above :))

Secret Pickle Supper Club

I went with Lavender Orange because I have been craving lavender lately – above.  One of these days I have to make some lavender sugar.

Secret Pickle Supper Club

At this point, I’m still wondering what is this event that we came to. I look at the tasting menu/information brochure – Secret Pickle Supper Club. Tonight’s theme: Tasting Tour of Spain.

Secret Pickle was founded by Alexa Clark when she held a tasting dinner for her birthday. From there, it evolved over time to what it is now – a tasting dinner party for up to 50 people, each with its own theme. The Secret Pickle usually happens in the city of Toronto at various locations and the tickets for the event sell out quickly. In honour of their 2 year anniversary, there was also a documentary being filmed, to be released later this year.

Secret Pickle Supper Club

The Chef, Matt Kantor prepared the delicious menu we were about to have and it was inspired by the Spanish meals him and Alexa had in Spain while at an olive oil conference.

First up – Croquetas de Bacalao Con Salsa Verde: Cod croquettes with banana pepper mayo and parsley puree. The Croquetas were browned until crispy on the outside. The parsley puree broke up the creaminess of the cod and it gave the plate a beautiful colour.

Secret Pickle Supper Club
The croquetas were brought around by the lovely servers and this was the only part of the meal that was served while the crowd was still mingling. The rest was a sit down dinner type meal, complete with an endless supply of Spanish wine.

The white wine: Leira Albarino from the Pazo Pondal Winery in Rias Baixas region of Spain (2008) was light, citrusy and with a hint of pear – perfect for the spring, with seafood or tapas.

The red: Pena Roble Crianza, from the Bodegas Resalte De Penafiel winery (100% Tempranillo grapes, 2004), from the Ribera Del Duero region. The red was my preferred choice for the evening, it was complex, well balanced with hints of fruits and chocolate. For Spain, 1994, 1995, 2001 and 2004 are the best vintages in history as they produced the very best Spain has to offer. Wines from those vintages can last for 20+ years when stored correctly.  We were supper lucky to have a 2004 served to us this evening!

Secret Pickle Supper Club

Next up, it was Lomo “Iberico” con Ajo y Perilla, which is a dish typical in the Andalusia region of Spain. Cutlet of pork, thinly sliced and pan fried with garlic and herbs. It was very simple, yet it was its simplicity that made it stand out.

Secret Pickle Supper Club

During the tasting we were also lucky to try two different olive oils. The first one was from Girona, from producers Bodegas Roda. Dauro was first launched in 1999 and it was the first Spanish olive oil produced as a ‘single estate oil’. It’s a blend of 3 varietals: Arbequina, Hojiblanca and Koroneiki. It’s considered delicate compared to other premium oils in Spain. According to my tasting notes, Dauro was minty, grassy and spicy. It smelled of avocado, nuts and tomato. The taste was quite delicate, smooth and well balanced. It lingered on the tongue long after swallowed. The oil was served in wine glasses and we were encouraged to taste the oil by itself first, then with bread, and then to save some to drizzle on our next course.

Secret Pickle Supper Club

The next course was Pulpo Loco from the Galicia region of Spain. “Crazy” octopus and fried potatoes. I’m usually not a big fan of octopus because it’s quite chewy and tasteless. However, the chef did a really good job grilling the octopus so it was a perfect consistency.

And….it was quickly gone!

Secret Pickle Supper Club

Next up we had Huevos con Patate, Maitake y Ramp – Sous Vide eggs with mashed potatoes with maitake mushrooms and ramps. Have you ever had sous vide eggs? If you’re like me, maybe you had sous vide meat, but never eggs. In fact, I didn’t even know that eggs could be ‘sous vide-ed’. According to the chef, the way to do it is to cook the eggs at exactly 63 degrees. The shells are then cracked on one end to let the egg fall out.

Secret Pickle Supper Club

This was something completely new for me, and even for someone that doesn’t like runny eggs, this was quite delicious. The mashed potatoes were creamy and the maitake mushrooms gave them a slight change in texture.

Secret Pickle Supper Club

The second choice for the olive oil was much richer. Tuccioliva Gran Selection from the San Amador Cooperative is made from Picual olives picked and pressed in October 2011. Tuccioliva was greener in colour (which apparently isn’t a characteristic on which olive oil should be judged), it was more bitter, longer aftertaste with hints of ripe fruit, banana and fennel.

Secret Pickle Supper Club

After this, we were served my favourite dish of the evening. Arroz Blanco y Negro Con Calamares, a dish most often found in Valencia.

Secret Pickle Supper Club

The calamari were first marinated in beet juice which gave them an incredible pink colour. The contrast of the pink against the black and white rice was incredible, as you can see from the pictures.

Secret Pickle Supper Club

A little sprinkle of Tuccioliva on top gave the rice a smooth finish. The calamari were perfectly cooked and my favourite were the little bubbles of moisture that formed on top 🙂

Secret Pickle Supper Club

Secret Pickle Supper Club

Before each meal, Alexa would give us a little background on her and Matt’s trip through Spain and how each meal was thought up and where the inspiration came from.

Secret Pickle Supper Club

At some point, she came around with a big plate of chorizo, and passed it around. Pure deliciousness. It reminded me of my own trip to Spain and how I much I miss chorizo and manchega cheese! 🙂

Secret Pickle Supper Club

Our last savoury dish of the evening was Cordero Con Mermelada de Pimientos del Piquillo – Slow roasted baby lamb with roasted red peppers. This dish was quite delicate, very clean and simple and a nice way to finish the savoury part of the meal.

Now you’re wondering what was for dessert, right? Our hosts chose Natilla, a typical custard-like Spanish dessert with cinnamon. The natilla was more liquidy than a typical custard, velvety smooth with a perfect cinnamon finish.

The evening ended with Alexa thanking us for coming and inviting us to the next events. I can’t wait for the documentary to come out (I hope they got my good angles :)).

Secret Pickle Supper Club

By far this was the best surprise I’ve ever gotten! What better way to get to a girl’s heart than with Spanish tapas? D even encouraged me to bring my camera, which is how all you fine people get to share in our experience 🙂 So, you have him to thank for that. And the best part? Time spent together. Until next time, happy eating!

 

UPDATE:  The Secret Pickle Supper Club Documentary is up and ready!  Check out yours truly in a few shots!  This is way too exciting! 🙂