It’s the summer solstice this Thursday, the longest, brightest day of the year — and here I am “stuck in the city, and goin’ nowhere.”
Well, of course, I’d love to be on the beach, touring the Italian lakes, cruising the Greek Islands or even lounging on a dock in Port Dover. But, hey, summer in the city isn’t so bad either. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m new to Hamilton and am just getting started on my own personal “learn Hamilton” project. (It took me a year to get unpacked, furnished, settled, etc.) So this summer I’m going to stick to Hamilton and explore it as well as I can while the sun’s shining, the flowers are blooming and I don’t need snow tires.
As you can imagine, enjoying some really great food remains high on my list of summer entertainment. On the other hand, one of the things that I particularly don’t want to do this summer is linger over a hot stove.
Which brings me to our fabulous new Go Cooking lineup:
This year we are partnering with “A Taste of Burlington” for our “Salute to Summer” and our evening dinners include restaurants such as Paradiso, The West Plains Bistro, The Red Canoe, the Queen’s Head Tavern and Celli’s Osteria, all in Burlington, along with Quatrefoil in Dundas and Chef Shawn Rocchi from Ronald McDonald House in Hamilton.
You probably are all aware of the great value provided by “A Taste of Burlington”. This summer’s session will run from July 21st to August 5th and, during this period, designated restaurants will be featuring a three course, prix fixe menu for lunch and dinner. For a list of participating restaurants with menus and prices, check out http://www.tasteofburlington.com/ Go Cooking is presenting 4 cooking sessions with participating restaurants, as a sort of preview of each chef’s cooking style. This is a wonderful way to try out a new restaurant or to re-visit an old favorite at a very moderate cost.
But I’m also very excited about two afternoon classes for serious home cooks, coming up at Go Cooking. These sessions are taking place on the Spectator’s patio (I know, I know — it overlooks the parking lot, but you’ll be so fascinated by the cooking that’s going on that you won’t even notice):
The first, in July, sounds like a carnivore’s delight. This will be a highly educational hour and a half with Chef William Wallace, who will be demonstrating the mysterious art of meat butchery. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Hmm, I wonder where that comes from” when contemplating your flank steak (and who, indeed, hasn’t!!!), this is where all will be explained. William will also be presenting a series of barbecue tips with a whole variety of different types of meat. So get your grill on!
The other afternoon session, on the 21st of August, will feature Chris de la Rosa of Caribbeanpot.com (Take a look at Chris’s entertaining website.) Chris is from Trinidad/Tobago and, during one happy period of my life, I spent quite a bit of time sailing amongst the islands. My very favorite island was Tobago — and it was partly because of the food, which is a complex combination of Indian and island traditions. I can’t wait to watch Chris in action and to learn how to emulate some of those piquant, tropical flavours.
Anyway, hurry up and book your Go Cooking sessions — I see that one has sold out already. And I’ll leave you with a pound cake recipe from Monet’s cookbook. This provides a great base for all of those summer fruits that are at the market right now.
Pound Cake (Quatre-quarts)
from “Monet’s Table, the Cooking Journals of Claude Monet”
5 eggs, separated
2/3 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease an 8 inch cake pan.
2) Melt the butter in a saucepan. Remove from heat.
3) Beat egg yolks in a bowl with the sugar and the grated rind. When the mixture turns pale, add the melted butter. Mix well.
4) Gradually beat in the flour.
5) Beat the egg whites into peaks.
6) Incorporate the egg whites into the batter, folding them in gently.
7) Pour the mixture into the cake pan and bake for 1 hour.
The French name for this cake means Four Quarters, because it uses equal quantities, by weight, of eggs, butter, sugar and flour.
This is a nice rich cake that provides a base for any kind of fruit you can think of. I love to serve it topped with a rhubarb/raspberry sauce and a dollop of whipped cream. But use your own imagination.