September 11th, 2009
You’ll spend $30 on a good bottle of olive oil, but spices? The $1.19 supermarket mix will do just fine.
Instead, spice up your life with quality seasonings from Montreal importers Epices de Cru. Known as the Indiana Jones of spices, the owners travel to remote villages and mountain tops in search of the best flavours. Their finds are preserved whole then presented in pretty tins, individually (from $1.25) or by blend.
Start out with the 101 Kit ($20) featuring Spanish paprika and Indian fennel, then go bold with the sublime eight pepper blend ($10). The devoutly eco-conscious will love the pesticide-free line (from $4) including Sri Lankan cinnamon and Madagascar vanilla.
PVR the Food Network and you’ll be the galloping gourmet in no time.
At Fino Marche Gourmand, 1616 Sherbrooke W., Montreal, 514 751-2878 or online at www.epicesdecru.com
June 30th, 2009
Lately we’re having sordid fantasies about being kidnapped by a hot Australian. Throw in a spot of dinner and we’re in seventh heaven.
While we can’t actually take TV host/chef Curtis Stone home with us, we have found ways to add a little hot Stone action into our kitchen. His slick new line of cooking supplies ranges from handy basics like the Juicy carving board ($120), to plating dazzlers like Showtime presentation rings ($85) that let you stack your food like a star.
Our personal fave is the Bump & Grind ($200, pictured), Stone’s sexy version of the mortar and pestle. Do you really need to ask why?
At the Bay, 585 Ste-Catherine St. W, Montreal, 514-281-4422, www.thebay.com
June 9th, 2009
Dads rock our world, but why the heck are they so hard to buy for? Herewith, Vitamin Daily Montreal's Top ways to make him smile this Father’s Day, from under $25 to a splurge:
While he may think he’d prefer a case of beer, dad needs to expand his horizons. Get his palate started with notes of black cherry and hints of oak in a 2008 bottle of Kim Crawford Marlborough Pinot Noir from New Zealand. $21.75 at SAQ stores, www.saq.com
You finally converted him to Arcade Fire, now let him wax nostalgia with the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock Collector’s Edition, featuring performances by Jefferson Airplane, Hendrix and The Who. Groovy, man. $45 at Amazon.ca.
What is it with fathers and flank steaks? He’ll love Sylvain Tremblay’s striking handmade pepper mill with professional grinding mechanism (it may even improve his BBQ skills). From $100, at Cuisine Gourmet stores, www.cuisinegourmet.com
Finally, give him something to distract from questions about your job/love life/finances. When troubling questions arise, challenge Papa to a game of foosball on his very own table (and let him win). $459, at Palason Games, Billiards & Decor, 9300 Cavendish Blvd., St-Laurent, 514-343-9399, www.palason.ca
February 10th, 2009
An ‘I Love You’ tattoo is a bold gesture, but we’ve decided on a less painful way to show our amour this Valentine’s Day.
Toast Tattoo lets you imprint your affections onto slices of bread, perfect for that breakfast-in-bed surprise. Serving suggestion: On a silver tray wearing a big smile (and not much else).
$4.95 at Motivo, 251 St-Zotique E., Montreal, 514-509-9064, www.motivo-magasin.com
December 19th, 2008
With so many friends dropping by, we’re spending plenty of time in the kitchen. Thanks to a few little tricks, we won’t need to call on Santa’s elves to make holiday magic:
1. Lemons and limes are juicier after being zapped in the microwave for 15 seconds.
2. Doing battle with lumpy brown sugar can ruin holiday baking. It will stay smooth as silk if stored in an air tight container with a piece of bread.
3. Not sure if eggs are up to Betty Crocker’s standard? Place one in a bowl of cold water—if it floats to the top, reach for a fresh dozen.
4. When it comes to spice, everything’s nice. Just remember that a tablespoon of fresh herbs (always your first choice) is equivalent to 1/3 – ½ a teaspoon of the dried variety.
5. Everybody loves a glass of vino. To reach the perfect temp, chill red wine for five minutes and remove white wine from the fridge five minutes before serving.
Ho ho ho!
November 28th, 2008
Flat soufflés, rock hard filet mignon, gooey dinner rolls…our culinary skills haven’t exactly reached Michelin star status.
But we do know that proper seasoning can do wonders for the dullest of meals, so we’re throwing salt on the problem. Blended with a bouquet of edible flowers including chamomile, violet, and rose petal, Terre Exotique’s Diamant de Sel aux Fleurs ($12.99) makes our salads pop and our sauces palatable. Just pour the 100 per cent natural salt rock crystals into a mill and grind at will.
That’s one star, anyway.
Available at Marche Jean-Talon’s Boucherie du Marche, 224 Place du Marche du Nord, 514-270-7732, www.terreexotique.fr
November 14th, 2008
We love wandering the stalls at Jean-Talon Market but who has time to take all that fresh produce home and actually cook it?
Luckily, Milliner Créativité Gourmande will do it for us. This mouth-watering boutique uses seasonal ingredients to create frozen dishes (many gluten-free) that beg to be taken home and heated-up. Choose from Milanese Osso Buco ($16.25), grilled grain-fed chicken with homemade ratatouille ($10.25) or a lamb tagine with vegetables and fruity couscous ($10.25). They’ll even prepare and deliver four-course gourmet lunches straight to your door.
Now if only they did laundry….
Milliner Créativité Gourmande, Marché Jean-Talon, 7010 Henri-Julien, 514-270-0004, www.milliner.ca
August 9th, 2008
Watching your favorite chefs on the Food Channel is one thing, but when it comes to re-creating the dishes at home, you’re all thumbs.
Get a little coaching by signing up for a cooking seminar at Ateliers & Saveurs. Choose an on-site course about finding the best produce at the Atwater Market, or learn how to cook (and eat) gourmet brunch for your next Sunday rendezvous. These informative classes will bring out your inner Nigella quicker than you can say “soften the butter.”
Ateliers & Saveurs, 444 St. Francois-Xavier St., 514-849-2866, www.ateliersetsaveurs.com
April 29th, 2008
We’re not exactly known for our culinary delights but when we do boil water and chop onions, we want the very best tools.
A recent trip to Cuisine Gourmet has certainly made us want to up our game in the kitchen. Find uber-cool Danish nutcrackers shaped like eggs ($44.99), and lovely Littledeer cutting boards made from Québec maple (from $64.99).
Okay, so we only walked out with a Cuisipro Julienne peeler ($17.99) but after we’ve mastered 101 Things To Do With a Potato, we’ll be back.
Cuisine Gourmet, 2005 Drummond St., Montreal, 514-845-2112, www.cuisinegourmet.com
September 21st, 2007
Let’s face it, it’s hard work being Julia Child on a working girl’s schedule.
But we can make ourselves a decent meal once in a while with the help of SOS Cuisine.
This Québec-based website offers a free meal-planning service delivered straight to your inbox. Sign-up, plug in your favorite foods, and voila! Every week they’ll send you tasty, easy-to-prepare recipes for the entire week.
Even better, they’ll tell you where to buy your produce and what’s on sale at your local épicerie.
Register at www.soscuisine.com