My #GuiltyPleasure: Duck Leg Confit from Di Liso’s Fine Meats

Di Liso’s Fine Meats has the best legs in town – duck leg confit, that is! Tender, moist, meaty duck legs are rich and flavourful; the crispy skin my #guiltypleasure. Chef-prepared for this butcher. Priced in range with other duck leg confit available in the burbs but Di Liso’s quality makes the drive to St. Lawrence Market absolutely worth the trip. Definitely my go-to-guys for duck leg confit in our region. Can’t wait to try their duck sous-vide, chocolate and caramel pork tenderloin, and Mennonite-prepared stuffed boneless chicken legs.

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Left photo credit: Angela Mondou

Confit is a traditional French method of preparing duck: legs are covered in duck fat and cooked slowly at low temperatures to tenderize while retaining flavour and moisture.  All you have to do is warm up the prepared duck confit under the broiler until skin is crispy and meat is hot. Here is how I served it for my girlfriends on our fabulous weekend getaway: on a bed of greens, with fresh fig, tiny dabs of fig goat cheese, and fig vinegar (all available at the market). High in fat but during an active weekend of night snowshoeing, dancing until 2:00 am, and yoga in the morning I figured we girls deserved a treat! Such a satisfying indulgence and so easy and special for entertaining.

To avoid the crowds at the market, get there very early on a Saturday morning or just after morning traffic on a Friday. If you look for it, you can find public parking dirt cheap within two blocks of the market – if I tell you where I’d have to kill you after. ;-)

Di Liso’s Fine Meats
91 Front Street East
Toronto, ON
M5E 1C4
(St. Lawrence Market)

Contact info, map, website, and hours here: http://www.dilisosmeats.com/contact.html

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Forkful of Flavour: Molisana’s Lasagna

Molisana Lasagna

Craving a bite of homemade lasagna but can’t even dream up the time to cook it? Molisana Bakery layers soft sheets of lasagna with cheese and a ragù of meltingly tender ground meat in tomato sauce. Packed with homemade flavour. Total comfort food. Priced right. Olive it!

Molisana_Lasagna

The Molisana ladies make about 20 lasagnas a day. Call ahead to order because these beauties sell out quickly. Dinner – fast, cheap, delicious – done!

Molisana Bakery
1474 Pickwick Drive, Unit 1
Mississauga, ON
L5V 2G2

Telephone: 905-826-8260

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Barrie’s Hip, Fresh Family Resto: The Farmhouse

Barrie’s The Farmhouse puts a fresh, hip spin on family dining with a focus on farm-to-table, locally sourced food. Here’s a quick glimpse of a great night we enjoyed while dining there with family this fall.

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Good variety of starters to choose from, like freshly-shucked PEI oysters or french onion soup brimming with cheese.

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French onion soup and freshly shucked PEI oysters.

Entrées come with two sides from a choice of eleven, including: roast garlic mash, baked potato with three cheese bacon butter, mac’n’cheese, daily soup, daily grain, three types of salads, and baked beans.

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Roasted chicken with garden herb pesto, farmhouse greens salad, and baked beans.

Side salads, like romaine salad with house-smoked bacon and parmesan vinaigrette, are served in charming mason jars.

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Romaine salad with parmesan vinaigrette.

Feltis Farm fries are served in mini deep fryer baskets.

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Flaxseed-crusted seared tuna with Feltis Farm fries and daily salad.

The side daily vegetable that night was a delicious combo of pretty beets and fresh kale sautéed in thyme butter. The daily salad had beets in it too. A healthy dose of fresh vegetables – olive it!

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Crispy trout with maple lemon butter, daily salad, and daily vegetable.

The crispy trout with maple lemon butter was so darn good: crisp exterior with a touch of sweetness; rich and moist inside. Others at our table enjoyed the garlic rosemary braised lamb shank, the farmhouse signature roast beef with thyme peppercorn goodness, and the flaxseed-crusted seared tuna with wasabi mayo.

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Flaxseed-crusted seared tuna with wasabi mayo and daily salad.

Lots of other creative, farm-to-table-fresh dishes on the menu, including weekend breakfast. Located in a historical building with outdoor patios overlooking the waterfront. A great reason to hop off the 400 on your way up north.

The Farmhouse
268 Bradford Street
Barrie, ON, L4N 3B8
 
Telephone: 705-737-0522
 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/farmhousebarrie
 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Farmhouse/162551217235154?fref=ts

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Small Plates: Fall Fruit & Cheese Tartine with Honey Drizzle

Willow

A few snapshots of a wonderful fall weekend I spent with friends,

Front Porch

on a beautiful farm near Lake Erie, Ontario.

Porch

And a recipe for an easy nibble, perfect for sharing with your own treasured friends this winter.

Troy

My contribution to the evening was my take on tartine: little open-faced French sandwiches that I layered with fruit and cheese, sprinkled with nuts and thyme, and drizzled with honey.

Eleonora Gattesco Roberts gattescohouse.com

Photo thanks to Eleonora Gattesco Roberts gattescohouse.com

We arrived at the farmhouse late so I threw the tartines together too quickly and sloppily as you can see in the photo. But they tasted delicious – feel free to be as sloppy or as artful as time permits. Serve with a salad for lunch or as a substantial snack to share with a glass of wine.

A few tips:

  • Ask your bakery to slice your baguette for you (the slices will be uniform thickness).
  • Prep all your ingredients ahead (except for the fruit) and store separately in airtight containers.
  • For larger crowds, double the recipe and make a variety, using all cheese and fruit listed. Stick with one type of fruit and cheese per tartine.
  • Because I knew I would be short on prep time when arriving at the farm, I used some pre-sliced cheese: Les Tranches Cremeuses des Pays de Loire (Coeur de Lion, France) as brie/camembert.

Fall Fruit & Cheese Tartine with Honey Drizzle

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 recipe of Toasted Baguette Crisps (recipe below)
170 g to 200 g of your choice of thinly sliced, good quality cheddar, brie, camembert, or soft ripened goat cheese
2 pears or 2 apples or one of each
¼ cup shelled and roughly chopped, raw walnuts or pistachios or a combination of both
¼ cup fresh thyme leaves (removed from their stems) plus extra thyme sprigs for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
Your best honey for drizzling

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Arrange baguette crisps in a single layer on baking sheet.
  2. Quarter, core, and thinly slice fruit.
  3. Top each baguette crisp with cheese and fruit of choice, in alternating, peek-a-boo layers (from two to four layers total, depending on your quantity of slices). Sprinkle with nuts, thyme leaves, and black pepper.
  4. Bake for a couple of minutes, just until cheese melts. Remove from oven, transfer carefully to serving platter.
  5. Drizzle with honey. Garnish platter with extra thyme sprigs. Serve warm. Gather your friends around, tuck in, and enjoy.

Toasted Baguette Crisps

Ingredients:

1 baguette, sliced into thin rounds (about 1 cm thick)
Olive oil for brushing
Sea salt for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush each slice lightly with olive oil. Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  2. Toast about 3 minutes, just until slices are beginning to become golden at the edges.
  3. Sprinkle very lightly with fine sea salt. Cool. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
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Postcards from Montreal: Restaurant L’Express

Fêting the holidays at Montreal’s iconic L’Express. Bustling, Parisian-style bistro. Elbow-to-elbow with casual French chic. Service attentive and gracious.

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Thoughtful gestures like extra virgin olive oil, dijon, and big jars of petits cornichons on every table. You’d be a fool not to indulge in the baguette.

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Classic French bistro food done beautifully, with a wine list to match. Raw oysters. Chèvre chaud – warm goat cheese with mixed greens and endive.

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Ile flottante au caramel – an island of soft meringue in a hard caramel shell, floating in a pool of crème anglaise. Garnished with an almond biscuit. Ooh là là.

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As vibrant today as it has been since it opened in 1980 and ushered in the revival of rue St. Denis. Still my favourite Montreal hangout.

Restaurant L’Express
3927 rue Saint-Denis
Montréal, QC

Telephone: 514-845-5333

Website: http://restaurantlexpress.com/en/

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