FARE

A Tour Down the Eaten Path

Fool Me Once…Just Keep Foolin’ Me

I live with an eternal optimist.

Sometimes it makes me want to punch him in the face, deliver a spin kick & yell “Turn that into a positive Mother F*@!er!”. I realize however, that he’s rubbing off on me because every year at this time, Murph turns to me with a big grin and tells me that this is our year; he can feel it; this is the one; something great is just around the corner. 2010 2011 2012 2013 is the year it all comes together for us…and I believe him…every time…that optimistic a$$hole.

The thing is, he’s right. I’m beginning to think each great year, or at least my perception of its greatness, is due to this seed of idealistic faith that Murph plants in my mind as the past year comes to a close and a new one dawns. Whatever bumps in the road we encounter lose their potentially negative influence as we focus on how lucky we are to have each other, our health and the ability to do what we love. Simply put, gratitude keeps the darkness at bay. 

My New Year’s wish is that you have the influence of an eternal optimist.

All the best in 2013. It’s going to be a great year…I can feel it.

Olive Oil & Candied Orange Cake

For the Candied Orange and Syrup

3 cups water

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup orange blossom (or regular) honey

3/4 Tbls ground cardamom

1 medium orange, thinly sliced

Line a baking try with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium pot combine water, sugar, honey and cardamom. Stir liquid over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then add orange slices. Turn heat down to medium-low and allow to simmer for about 40 minutes; occasionally turning orange slices until they are tender and liquid has reduced to about 3 cups worth. Reserve the syrup and transfer orange slices to baking tray. 

For the Cake

1/2 cup olive oil plus more for brushing

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup semolina flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup sugar, divided in two

3 large eggs, separated

2/3 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

1 1/2 tsp grated orange zest 

1 tsp vanilla extract

Chopped toasted nuts of your choice for garnish

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a medium bowl whisk both flours, baking powder, cardamom, salt and baking soda together. In a separate, larger bowl, beat 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup olive oil for 1 minute using an electric mixer. Beat in the egg yolks then the flour mixture. Beat in yogurt, orange zest and vanilla. In a separate bowl, using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar until glossy, firm peaks form. Fold half of the egg whites into batter, folding the second half in until just blended (over mixing will cause loss of volume). Transfer to prepared cake pan; smooth top and bake about 25-29 minutes. Poke a toothpick in the centre of the cake to test; if it comes out clean remove cake from oven.

Poke small holes all over the hot cake and slowly pour 3/4 cup warm orange syrup over the top. When syrup is absorbed pour another 3/4 cup over the top. Allow cake to cool in pan on a wire rack.

Remove pan sides, arrange candied orange slices and top with nuts. Slice and serve cake. 

At last nights New Year’s Eve party I chose to top this flavourful pound cake with an orange oil-vanilla whip cream but a plain Greek yogurt with fresh mint would be lovely as well.

Serves 12

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine June 2011

Photos by Maggie Murphy

Have Your Cake & Eat It Too
It’s been all sugar flowers and wedding cakes the past few weeks. Hours and hours…and hours, of forming thin paste into delicate petals, covering cakes and decorating them as though they might one day feed a happy couple and their party guests.
It may come as a surprise to my family, because it comes as a surprise to me, but I seem to have a lot of patience. I know…I drive too fast, I talk too fast, I jump from subject to subject like they’re all on fire but I can sit in front of a cake for 12 hours with a pair of tweezers and a .0 piping tip and patiently bring it to life. I love it. 
That said, whether or not I will choose to do this as a career is debatable. It seems I’ve fallen for every aspect of the baking and pastry industry and we still have our chocolate class coming up. The tough part will be choosing which of these areas I’ll attempt to master first.In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the peep show for each of these specialties and try not to lick my fingers. Licking your fingers is frowned upon.
~ Maggie 
Photo & Cake by Maggie Murphy

Have Your Cake & Eat It Too

It’s been all sugar flowers and wedding cakes the past few weeks. Hours and hours…and hours, of forming thin paste into delicate petals, covering cakes and decorating them as though they might one day feed a happy couple and their party guests.

It may come as a surprise to my family, because it comes as a surprise to me, but I seem to have a lot of patience. I know…I drive too fast, I talk too fast, I jump from subject to subject like they’re all on fire but I can sit in front of a cake for 12 hours with a pair of tweezers and a .0 piping tip and patiently bring it to life. I love it. 

That said, whether or not I will choose to do this as a career is debatable. It seems I’ve fallen for every aspect of the baking and pastry industry and we still have our chocolate class coming up. The tough part will be choosing which of these areas I’ll attempt to master first.

In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the peep show for each of these specialties and try not to lick my fingers. Licking your fingers is frowned upon.

~ Maggie 

Photo & Cake by Maggie Murphy

A Quick Pickle

Maggie: ‘Can you believe Christmas is in a month and a half?!!”

Murph: ‘Or…two and a half months…’

This is a prime example of my recent state of mind. My body is in the here and now but my brain is somewhere out there, further ahead. I’m so preoccupied with planning a few weeks in advance that I have to be careful I don’t forget something that needs be done tomorrow. 

Thanksgiving weekend gave me some much needed time to catch up with family and school work. I was also able to squeeze in some pickled fennel. Ever since trying the Duck confit salad with pickled fennel and mango at Brasserie, I’ve been a little bit obsessed with the salty sweet combination. 

For anyone else out there who feels like they’re on the fast track this fall, making these pickle-y fennel slices is quick and painless. Fennel’s anise flavour is surprisingly perfect when pickled and works well when playing a supporting role in a salad or on a sandwich. A crunchy pickled fennel and mango slaw is great as a side dish but would also be fantastic on fish tacos or a pulled pork sandwich. 

Man, I wish it was still August. Wasn’t it just August? 

Pickled Fennel

1 large fennel bulb

1 cup water

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

1 1/2 tsp agave nectar (can substitute honey)

1 tsp kosher salt

1/8 tsp mustard seeds

Using a mandoline, shave fennel into very thin strips and place in a 500ml canning jar.

Combine all other ingredients and pour over top of fennel into jar. Seal with a lid and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours. The pickled fennel can remain in the fridge for up to a week.

Pickled Fennel & Mango Slaw

1/2 a head small green cabbage

1 large fennel bulb, pickled and shaved thinly

1 mango, medium ripeness

1 1/2 Tbls basil, finely chopped

Using a mandoline, shave cabbage and mango. Slice up fennel and shaved mango pieces so that they are relatively similar in size. Toss all vegetables, fruit and herbs into a medium sized bowl and mix by hand. Lightly dress with pickled dressing.

For the Pickled Dressing:

1/8 cup of pickling liquid from fennel

1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil

1 1/4 Tbls lemon juice

1 tsp dijon or grainy mustard

1 tsp agave nectar or honey

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

Whisk all ingredients together.

Recipe and photos by Maggie Murphy

The Absentee Blogger
I think about it everyday; my not blogging. I think about it every time I make dinner, pick fruit and pull dirt caked vegetables from the earth; every time I take a nap, open a book, go for a bike ride. I imagine it’s the same feeling people get when their dogs sit at the door and stare at them, willing them to go for a walk. I see you looking at me. I see you see me.
It’s fair to say I reached a point this summer where I realized I know very little. This has happened more than a few times in the past and it’s a good thing. It’s a reminder that there is a great deal to learn and it’s best if I open up to it. 
So that’s where I’ve been; in an open field, filled with hay bales full of information. I’m going to eat all of that hay.
I’ll take you for a walk soon, after I’ve digested some hay.
~ Maggie
Photo by Maggie Murphy  

The Absentee Blogger

I think about it everyday; my not blogging. I think about it every time I make dinner, pick fruit and pull dirt caked vegetables from the earth; every time I take a nap, open a book, go for a bike ride. I imagine it’s the same feeling people get when their dogs sit at the door and stare at them, willing them to go for a walk. I see you looking at me. I see you see me.

It’s fair to say I reached a point this summer where I realized I know very little. This has happened more than a few times in the past and it’s a good thing. It’s a reminder that there is a great deal to learn and it’s best if I open up to it. 

So that’s where I’ve been; in an open field, filled with hay bales full of information. I’m going to eat all of that hay.

I’ll take you for a walk soon, after I’ve digested some hay.

~ Maggie

Photo by Maggie Murphy  

Ending On a Sweet Note

It’s time to wrap up these San Francisco posts and it’s fitting that I end with Hooker’s Sweet Treats, as it was the last shop I visited on the afternoon I flew home. 

Located in the Tenderloin district, Hooker’s is a tiny gem of a spot. The Tenderloin is repeatedly described as the worst neighbourhood in San Francisco, due to the ever present addicts, prostitutes, mentally unstable people, etc. It’s intimidating for sure, however, if you pay attention, and act like you live there, it’s really not that bad. (I’m not saying that you should swing down after dark and mingle with the street crowd, but use your head and you’ll find some really great places, as well as, some excellent people in the area.)

I’d sampled Hooker’s salted caramels earlier in my stay and knew I had to check it out for myself. Their handmade dark chocolate covered caramels are exactly the right chewiness, kissed with a mouth watering smoked sea salt. They are worth a trip into the ‘Loin’.

When my sister and I walked through the door, we were met with a warm hello from two fine fellows in the midst of dipping caramels. There was a local girl hanging out drinking freshly brewed espresso and while the guys wrapped up our treats we all got to chatting. I asked if they minded me taking a few photos and snapped away while they suggested a number of their favourite places to eat and hang out in the city. The people of San Francisco are gems themselves and if you’re open to it, will meet some really lovely folks.

Hanging out at Hooker’s made me appreciate and enjoy their salted caramels even more than I did before I’d been to the shop. You know when you fall in love with a new song, then hear or see an interview with the musician and they’re intelligent, humble and whatever other qualities you admire? You love that song even more because it was born out of the mind of a person you can conclude is someone you would like to spend time with. I’ll go back to Hooker’s Sweet Treats again one day.

I left my sister in San Francisco, along with that other cliché thing people leave there. 

~ Maggie

Photos by Maggie Murphy