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Posts from — September 2013

DELICIOUS DISH

I recently had the pleasure of taking a Delicious Dish cooking class with Occupational Therapist-turned-self-taught-chef, Carolyn Cohen. I’d heard about her classes for years and was intrigued, mostly because the menus were hoarded secrets. Sharing recipes was considered to be horribly bad form. Verboten? Forbidden fruit? I wanted in!  After managing to coax a few tidbits from some willing rule-benders, I tried a couple of recipes.

And they were, indeed, delicious dishes.

It wasn’t long before I was on Carolyn’s email list. Schedules were listed, but menus were not. And while I debated whether to sign up, the classes would fill up and sell out within hours of being posted. Who was this Carolyn Cohen? And what was she serving??  Finally, a friend asked if I wanted to join a private group she was organizing and I jumped at the chance.

The class was designed to be healthy, family-friendly, good for entertaining, and gluten-free optional. I’m not so healthy, tho’ I try to start the week that way. My family rarely eats the masterpieces I cook, and I am nothing if not a glutton for gluten.

I was in.

A week before the event, the original organizer had to drop out, along with half the class. After a mad scramble to collect a minimum of ten bodies – ten $95 pre-paid bodies – we ended up with 13 and were rarin’ to go!

Carolyn called me to plan the menu. At her suggestion we swapped some of the original planned mains, and we agreed to go completely gluten-free. We had a celiac among us, as well as the founder of the Gluten-Free Garage. In fact, I’m honoured to have posted this piece as a guest-blogger on the GFG web-site.  Click here to check it out. You’ll find loads of gluten-free ideas and information. And no, you don’t have to be gluten-free to check it out.

But I digress….

The night of our class, we descended upon Carolyn’s kitchen, where she commandeered 13 of the chattiest ladies in town. Pouring glasses of red, to go with the quinoa pizza bites she’d provided as a starter, Carolyn got right down to business.

She was a mountain of information both healthy and practical. Onion goggles to stop the waterworks. Kevlar gloves to prevent slicing off fingers. A list of suppliers and shops – and salts. Kitchen scales. Dough scoopers. Slicers. Pine nuts. Olive oil. She had it all covered.

Chef Carolyn Cohen in her onion goggles!

Chef Carolyn Cohen in her onion goggles!

We all laughed, learned and ate. A lot.

The Menu:

First up was quinoa with beets, radish and…wait for it….crispy Brussels sprouts. Anything with crispy Brussels sprouts and I’m in. But look how gorgeous this golden quinoa is with its beautiful Brussels sprout collar. Divine.

Winter Quinoa with Crispy Brussell Sprouts. Note the collar!

Herbed Quinoa with Crispy Brussels Sprouts. Note the collar!

 

Kale is the roughage du jour. The king of green. It’s everywhere. Healthy and tasty as it may be, I’ve always preferred mine wilted and tossed into a stir fry or sauce (or ratatouille! Yum!). But this Southern Italian Kale Salad, a cousin of the one at Toronto eatery Gusto, was crazy good. Made with black kale and Parmesan, it was totally addictive. I easily could’ve downed the entire platter….

Black Kale. Kavarro Nero. Lassi Nate. Call it what you will, it's sublime.

Black Kale.Dinosaur Kale. Cavalo Nero. Lacinato. Call it what you will, it’s sublime.

Chipotle Chicken burgers with Guacamame. These sliders were smoky goodness on a gluten-free bun. Spicy and beyond tasty and – get this – cooked under the broiler! Who knew? And that stunning bright green topper? It’s a dip! It’s a sauce! It’s NOT guacamole, but guacaMAME. Avocado + Edamame = one tasty topping. On anything. Or nothing!

Chipotle Chicken sliders with Guacamame Spread. Asombroso. Ole!

Chipotle Chicken sliders with Guacamame Spread. Asombroso. Ole!

My fave of the night was the Seared Tuna with Smoked Sea Salt, Sesame and Pepper crust. On a soy-maple glaze. This ain’t your gourmando’s ahi. It’s albacore! And it’s better, believe it or not. None of the gristle, all of the taste. And the glaze? Sublime! Instead of finishing it off on top, the seared tuna is sliced and sandwiched with a sliver of jalapeno before resting on a bed of glaze. Brilliant!!

Ladies prefer blondes. Blond - aka - albacore tuna. Nothin' like canned.

Ladies prefer blonde….tuna! Albacore, that is. Nothing like the canned.

And then there were the cookies: Granola cookies. Family-friendly, no doubt – if there are any left. Our crowd inhaled them, some of us even sneaking in extras. And by extras I mean thirds. OK, fourths. They taste neither gluten-free nor healthy, in the best possible way.

 

So good you won't believe they're not gluten. You may even think they're Quaker Harvest Crunch!

So good you won’t believe they’re not gluten. You may even think they’re Quaker Harvest Crunch!

Carolyn has generously allowed me to break with protocol and publish a recipe! Allow me to present The Granola Cookie, by Delicious Dish. Resistance is futile.

From DELICIOUSDISH: THE GRANOLA COOKIE

“These are cookies that you can bake and not feel guilty about eating them
afterwards! Make them and enjoy them; delicious cookies just don’t get any
healthier!” Carolyn Cohen.

INGREDIENTS
2 cups (8oz/225g) rolled oats, I like the large flake or old fashioned for these
1 cup (4½ oz/130 g) of brown rice flour (or any flour of your choice)
¾ cup (2 oz/55g) shredded unsweetened coconut
1 Tbs. cinnamon
¼ tsp. sea salt
¾ cup maple syrup
½ cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
½ cup small raisins or chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 350°F or 325°F convection. Line several cookie sheets with parchment.
2. In a large bowl, combine, oats, flour, coconut, cinnamon and salt.
3. On a smaller bowl or measuring cup, stir together the maple syrup, oil and vanilla.
4. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until evenly combined.
5. Fold in walnuts, raisins or chocolate chips.
6. Using a soup spoon, scoop batter into mounds onto the prepared cookie sheet. You may need to form them into mounds with you fingers. They may appear as if they are not coming together, but they bake up great! Don’t worry about crowding the pan a little, they do not spread.
7. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Makes 3-4 dozen
Copyright 2013. May not be reproduced or used for commercial purposes without
permission of Delicious Dish/Carolyn Cohen.

For more info, contact Carolyn Cohen 416.200.3522 / deliciousdish@rogers.com

Carolyn offers classes all year round, day or evening. Private or GenPop. Your kitchen or hers. Be warned – if you head to her place I might be the one loitering outside, looking for scraps…..

 

 

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September 23, 2013   No Comments

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A LITTLE MORE TIFF 2013

Full confession: I’ve been more of a loiterer this year than a film-goer. I’m not sure what happened with the Gala screenings for 2013… Where was this year’s “Argo”? Or “King’s Speech”? How about the wonderfully random foreign film that may not get distributed but should? I think they hit up The Princess of Wales theatre. Or TIFF Bell Lightbox. Wherever they were, I’ll be seeing ’em in the regular theatres with the regular people.

Still, there is something to be said for ogling, right? Here are some shameless photo-ops!

I met Michael C Hall a couple of years ago, when no one else in the green room bothered chatting with him. He didn’t remember, but was still lovely.

Dexter and Shvitzer. Sweatiest night of the year.

Dexter and Shvitzer. Sweatiest night of the year.

He wasn’t here to discuss Dexter (sadly. Rita in the bathtub??!! The best!). He was here with Daniel Radcliffe for Kill Your Darlings. We were too hot ‘n bothered to stay for the flick but wee Mr Radcliffe’s fans were out in full force. They hung around the perimeter of Roy Thompson Hall in the crazy heat, waiting for a glimpse of Harry. Potter.

Look! Here he is!!

 

Dex  n the boy Wizard

Dexter
‘n the Boy Wizard

And then there’s Kurt Russell. Looking somewhat…erm..different but handsome. And very accommodating. Why, in my old age, am I getting him mixed up with Jeff Bridges? Weird, right? BTW – still love “Overboard”….

Papa Kurt.

Papa Kurt.

Despite skipping out on the movie, I had to acknowledge Jay Baruchel. “This is the End” was bloody brilliant!! We went opening night. I was probably the only person in the theatre who wasn’t stoned but was still laughing so hard I nearly peed. OK, I may have. Genius!!  So I had to tell him. We stopped short of holding hands and jumping up and down with glee, but he was almost as excited about the acknowledgement as I was. Almost.

Go Jay Go!

Go Jay Go!

And then there were the back-to-back-to-back rom coms.

One was from India: A Random Desi Romance. Super long, full-on Bollywood, total cheese and lots of fun! We were late so no pics. But lots of gorgeous people in gorgeous outfits. Nuff said.

Next up: Canadian flick The Right Kind of Wrong. I was sort of dreading it – that title? Jason Stackhouse as the big star? Um…..But we watched and we laughed. You probably won’t, nor should you race out, but if you find yourself flipping channels or on an airplane, it’s cute. Or I have TIFF fever and can no longer tell good from bad. That’s very possible.

I prefer him in BonTemps, but still appealing, shorn 'n all....

I prefer him in BonTemps, but still appealing, shorn ‘n all….

And for my personal final flick: The Love Punch. A Brit caper starring the beyond charming Peirce Brosnan and the spectacularly divine Emma Thompson, this one was sweet, clever and – at times – laugh out loud funny. Premise – retired divorced couple lose their pension to a business shark and plot a diamond heist to get it back – isn’t as good as the movie itself. The stars brought their A-game, bantering with fans, posing barefoot, being self-deprecating and witty and fun – maybe that’s why the audience went back shit for the film. It’s so much easier to enjoy a movie when its stars make you want to like it – because you like them, right?!

Who wouldn't love them?!?

Who wouldn’t love them?!?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 13, 2013   No Comments

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TIFF 2013

It’s been a different kind of TIFF for the Green Room girls. Lots of sponsors, eagerly awaiting their close-ups, and a lot less stars. Or, rather, less stars ready, willing or able to hang our with the civilians. They come in like exotic animals, surrounded by handlers and managers and hangers-on, and, a quick sip later they’re gone, leaving nothing but fairy dust and frazzled publicists in their wake.

Still, I did manage to catch a few flicks as well as a few glimpses of those ethereal, elusive creatures we know as celebs…

THE 5TH ESTATE

You know, the one about Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks movie. Great performances, interesting film, mediocre movie. Less Social Network and more made-for-tv. But still worth seeing. On Netflix. Or an airplane. Or if there’s nothing else to see (which, going into fall, I find hard to believe.). But the awesomely named Benedict Cumberbatch lived up to the expectations of his Cumberbitches (yeah, he has those) and was terrific. Daniel Bruhl was no slouch either.

Benedict

THE RAILWAY MAN

Colin Firth wasn’t nearly as friendly as he’s been in recent years. Maybe because he’s hungry? He looked awfully thin. And speaking of thin, Nicole Kidman breezed in and out, posing with sponsors and doing her job. I actually felt a bit badly for her, as the second she walked into the room she was mobbed. She really is a delicate flower! With magnificent skin. Whatever’s she’s done has been worth every penny. A beauty. Unlike the film. The true story upon which it was based is extraordinary, and I have no doubt the book was spectacular. But the epilogue card had more emotional resonance than the two hours that preceded it. A shame.

IMG_6548 2

 

PARKLAND

This docu-drama is set in the aftermath of the JKF assassination. It’s about all the minor players: the doctors and nurses who worked on the president, as well as his shooter; Robert Oswald, the brother of Lee Harvey; a man who filmed the entire thing on his super-8 camera; the secret service detail, etc. I was pleasantly surprised by this one, considering the big draw was…Zac Efron.

Zac Ephron

Baby Efron

He was one of the excellent ensemble. And he had more babysitters in the Green Room than I’d ever seen. Bodyguards, publicists, and more bodyguards. A mini, girlier, Rob Lowe, he didn’t do it for me. Unlike Tom Welling, the tall gorgeous man being ignored at the bar. Re-ow! Smallville’s Clark Kent is nothing short of stunning – and sweet and modest to boot! Superman indeed.

Pic doesn't do him justice. Super stunning superman....

No, it’s not Ryan Seacrest. It’s Super Stunning Superman. Pic doesn’t do him justice.

MANDELA

Idris Elba. Idris Elba. Idris Elba. Word is this is one extraordinary performance among several in the sure-to-be Oscar bait, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. My mother couldn’t stop raving about the man, the movie, the cast. Sadly, it’s one of the few gala films I missed! Green roomed, yes, but didn’t catch the film. Loser.

Two hugely enthusiastic thumbs up from my mother!

Two hugely enthusiastic thumbs up from my mother!

WORDS & PICTURES

Speaking of losers….this was a dud. An interesting conceit, yes: which has more power: words or pictures? Set up a competition between two flawed teachers at a New England prep school and, well, you can guess what happens. Students are inspired, teachers are transformed, people fall in love, and they all agree that both are intensely powerful, just like love itself. Blah blah blah. Saccharine-sweet, with few surprises. There were several witty bits, but they got lost within the sentimental tone that defined this. Clive Owen was charming – on screen and in person, despite his current moustache.Yeah, it’s not Movember, but he’s sporting a ‘stache. Somewhat Clouseau-esque but he can pull it off. Kind of.

MOAM 'n 'Stache Owen

MOAM ‘n ‘Stache Owen

RUSH
Wow. Daniel Bruhl – our guy from the 5th Estate – steals the show as serious-as-a-heart-attack Austrian Nicki Lauda. Drop dead gorgeous Chris Hemsworth is dashing Brit playboy/partier James Hunt. ¿Quién es más macho? Loud, sexy, intense and true, it’s Formula 1 racing drama in the 70’s. Beautifully shot, superbly done and, while not perfect, is a damn fine flick. Verrrry manly, yes, but I liked it too. A great story and a big-screen must see.

Zoinks! Stu-nning!

Zoinks! Stu-nning!

 

Bruhl ruled the Galas....

Bruhl ruled the Galas….

 

Also fun was the star-packed greenroom….Just not with the stars of the movie!

Jason Sudeikis was there to support his gorgeous fiancee, Olivia Wilde. And guess what? He’s gorgeous too!

Clearly NOT his wife. What? He was cracking me up!

Clearly NOT his wife. Nor my best shot. What? He was cracking me up!

And Chris Hemsworth had his hot family around him. He’s the middle brother of 3. It took a while for most of us to figure out who was who. Luckily his magnificent wife Elsa Pataky was able to set us straight!!

 

Yes, it runs in the family.

The youngest, Liam. Yes, it runs in the family.

 

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY

Yes, I saw it. Yes, it was brilliant. The writing! The performances! Breathtaking!!! This one’s guaranteed Oscar bait, no question.

So why didn’t I cry?!

Maybe it was too theatrical. Too much in the head and not enough in the heart? I don’t know. I appreciated it as a piece of work, but didn’t have the visceral reaction I thought I would.

My old doppelganger Dylan McDermott was there, as was Juliet Lewis. Ewan MacGregor? Still got it. And Julia Roberts?!?!? Always has, always will.

Love.

Love.

 

Still more to come! Stay tuned……

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 11, 2013   No Comments

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