Chef Jamie Kennedy’s Tomatoes
Chef Jamie Kennedy’s Heirloom Tomatoes
These beautiful heirloom tomatoes are from Chef Jamie Kennedy’s farm. He sells them at his restaurant Gilead Cafe Wine Bar.
Recently taken for dinner there by two wonderful friends, they even gave me a lootbag filled with these tomatoes!
Heirloom tomatoes are old types of tomatoes that fell out of use. They are being revived now in part to protect biodiversity. The red tomatoes we get at the supermarket are bred for appearance, and ability to last on long truck drives. Taste is secondary.
The wonderful colours of the tomatoes means that they are filled with great healthy properties, we are “eating the rainbow” with them. Chef Kennedy has long been involved with organic produce, local food and the farm to table movement. He only uses top quality local produce, at his restaurant. And when we were there he was busy in the kitchen. He has a master touch with French Fries, and they were perfect with my husband’s steak frites.
For the home cook beautiful tomatoes like these don’t need much to enhance them, maybe a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or lemon juice on top, sprinkle it with some herbs or sliced green onion, and some excellent sea salt on top. I used my favorite flaky sea salt, Maldon, from England.
See if you can get some wonderful tomatoes, and savor them for their fresh taste. And if you can, try the Gilead Cafe.
Market TIme Part II
Ready made country-style goodies
I received some queries as to where Reesor’s Market is. Any word in my blog that has blue lettering is also a link to the website, and you just click on the word.
There are two Reesor’s Market and I went to the Farm Market at 10825 Ninth Line, Markham, Ont. It closes in October for the season.
Reesor’s Market and Bakery, Ontario
Just a quick reminder to get out of the city and visit some Farmer’s Markets. I went to Reesor’s Market and Bakery. The produce is so fresh.
You can get some Voisin’s Maple Syrup.
Voisin’s Maple Syrup
I went without a plan, just to see what was enticing. I have made a fresh tomato sauce with their perfectly ripe Roma tomatoes, and a beet salad. And of course I had to get some of their non GMO corn.
A Rainbow of Peppers
With fall on our doorsteps, it’s time to enjoy the final summer harvest while we can.
In Search of Hummus
Tabule - Eggplant Salad, Leben, and Hummus.
Hummus is a dip made out of mashed cooked chickpeas, mixed with techina (sesame paste), lemon juice, garlic, salt and olive oil. Usually pita breads are dipped into it. You can buy it ready made in a grocery store or you can try it freshly made in a restaurant. It’s good for you!
Hummus has been served in restaurants in Toronto for decades, each restaurant having its own version of hummus.
What is new is that young restaurateurs are opening up trendy Middle Eastern restaurants across downtown Toronto.
I decided to try out some of the new restaurants and also visit established restaurants in search of hummus.
First stop was Tabule, on Queen Street East in Leslieville. It is a beautiful modern restaurant.
The food was very good, and well presented. We ordered the hummus as part of a platter with three salads, leben (yogurt cheese), eggplant salad and hummus. The hummus was smooth and well-seasoned.
S. Lefkowitz - Hummus
Next was S. Lefkowitz, Hummusia, named after owner Ezra Braves’ grandfather. Braves owned two coffee shops and he turned one of them into Toronto’s first Hummusia (hummus snack bar). His very limited menu allows him to focus on the specialty, hummus made from scratch using cooked dried organic chickpeas, organic techina, and good quality olive oil.
Not only did I enjoy the food but I loved the music played at just the right volume. This restaurant has all the characteristics I could imagine every restaurant having; high quality ingredients, friendly atmosphere, and the personal touch of naming the restaurant after a beloved family member.
Famous Laffa - Hummus filled with Schwarma
Then back uptown to a restaurant with picture windows overlooking a parking lot in an industrial complex. Famous Laffa (401 Magnetic Dr., Toronto) serves kosher Jewish Iraqi food.
Famous Laffa’s speciality is the laffa, a large type of flatbread that they bake fresh in the restaurant in a specially designed oven. It is so fresh and perfect to scoop up their creamy hummus with it.
Then there is Me Va Me, another fixture on the Toronto Middle Eastern cuisine scene. They also bake laffas, and their hummus is perfection. They have opened a third location in downtown Toronto.
Fat Pasha - Hummus With Lamb Meatballs
My last stop was another Toronto trendy new restaurant, Fat Pasha. The third restaurant from Chef Anthony Rose is Middle Eastern with Jewish, trendy elements. You can get chopped liver with gribbenes and schmaltz, (fried onions and rendered chicken fat), falafel, and of course hummus.
Every restaurant was enjoyable in their own unique way. I recommend that you go out and try them, and start your own search for your favorite hummus.
The Coffee Mill Restaurant
Cafe au Lait and Dobosh Torte
The Coffee Mill Restaurant opened in 1963. It’s owner, 86 year old Martha von Heczy has now decided to close it after fifty years of operation.
1963 Toronto was a very quiet, staid city, with strict “blue laws” regulating the sale of alcohol and keeping businesses closed on Sundays.
The Coffee Mill brought a breath of fresh air to the city, importing the European cafe culture. The Hungarian owner served up goulash, great salads, palacsintas (Hungarian crepes), and Hungarian pastries such as Dobosh. It was one of the first places to have cappuccinos and serve great quality coffee. First located on Bloor Street, then moving to Yorkville, shoppers could stop and refresh their energy at the Coffee Mill.
I have probably gone to it since it opened, my mother loved it and often took my brothers and I there on the weekend. I remember how sophisticated I felt as a girl drinking an orange frappe, orange juice with two scoops of orange sherbet in it.
I just had to go for a final coffee. It was very busy, other people had the same idea. It was looking a bit shabby and dated, but Martha was still there clearing and wiping tables, and making sure things were running well.
With so much competition now from the coffee chains, and European foods less in style, it sadly is time for The Coffee Mill to close. The good memories will always remain.
Kissane Sheep Farm, Ireland
John Kissane explaining sheep herding
The Kissane Sheep Farm is located on the Ring of Kerry, a 170 kilometer route in County Kerry, Ireland. Situated in the most beautiful scenery, the Kissane family has farmed the land for generations. We visited the farm to see a sheep herding demonstration and learn about sheep farms.
John was up at 6:00 a.m. that day and had climbed the mountain to round his sheep for this demonstration assisted by his faithful border collies.
Border Collie checking us out
The goat wants in on the action too
Following only two verbal commands for left or right, the dogs skillfully herded the sheep.
Let’s Go Sheep
Job Well Done
He makes it look easy, but this hard working man has generations of experience and love for the farm behind him.
The modern day challenges are the economics of running the farm. With synthetic fabrics taking over, wool sales have plummeted. It costs 2 euros to sheer the sheep, but the wool can only be sold for 1 euro.
The income from tourists visiting the farm plays an important role for the farm to continue on.
Kissane Farm House
If you are travelling the Ring of Kerry in Ireland, see if you can visit the Kissane Sheep Farm. You’ll have a better appreciation of the hard work farmers do.
I hopped the pond and went on a tour of Ireland and Northern Ireland. I’d like to share some of my photos with you of these beautiful countries.
Sheep enjoying the view of the Atlantic Ocean
Port of Cobh - the last port theTitanic sailed from
Dublin Castle - Portrait of Queen Victoria
Queen’s University Belfast
My last photo is of course, Ireland’s famous brew:
Guinness Storehouse Dublin - Freshly pulled pint of Guinness