Last week I had a week long business trip to Toronto. I hadn't been back in a few years, since my first visit , where I was lucky to meet Peter of Kalofagas. Naturally we were destined to meet again with more outrageous T shirts and high jinks planned, free time permitting. You see, Peter loves racy T shirts and he made me promise to wear one he chose especially for me. Not being uptight and pretty free, I went with it, warning Certain Someone ahead of time. The photos speak for themselves. I wont put up Thursday nights shirt as it really pushed the limits, but all in good fun.We had agreed to meet up in a cozy Gastro pub called The House on Parliament , in Cabbage Town ,with fellow Canadian Food Blogger and online friend Jasmine of Cardamon Addict. Jasmine, living a distance away made the trek into town Monday night to meet up, bearing a Canadian Specialty , Butter Tarts. She was concerned about her crusts and unorthodox use of chocolate in one version, but I thought they were superb. These rich , flaky butter tarts served as snack and breakfast during my work week, and I'm grateful. I gifted Peter and Jasmine Chicago's Famous Garrets Popcorn, the cheese and caramel mix. The Popcorn is like Crack , and I got them hooked. My colleague Irene wolfed hers down on the way from the airport. I gave her another bag with a chocolate mix, that was evident in the car all week , as she nibbled.
Work was pretty intense , but we had agreed to one more rendezvous with Peter Thursday night. I managed to connect with my other blogger friend Gianna, who has a blog, not necessarily devoted to food, but should be. We had met once before in Chicago, and I find her a kindred spirit. We started out with my colleaugue and I meting up with Peter in the St. Lawerence Market, where I samapled some Peameal bacon, and purchased a few items. It was there where I fell in love with the Kozliks Mustard stand, and learned Canada is the largest importer of mustard seed to the world. Who knew!. I purchased a bag of the extra hot Oriental Mustard seeds, to make my own. We then picked up Gianna and wound our way to the lovely Distillery District. I wish I had more more time there as this was my favorite spot. Gianna showed me Soma Chocolates and A Taste of Quebec,where I purchased more goodies and the most amazing Gelato. Once home I made Soma's Mayan Elixir of the Gods, an intense spicy Chocolate shot which was aptly named.
Dinner was at the Miller Street Brew Pub, where I imbibed more than I ate, being full from the previous goodies.Excellent evening with Irene, my colleague, Peter, and Gianna. Irene then took me to Mas Camps. Walking Mas in Caribana is a important yearly rite of passage for many Caribbean Canadians. Caribana is the largest Caribbean festival drawing hundred of thousands of people from all over the world.Street parades, bands, food, competition, and plain good fun celebrating the Caribbean Culture . Toronto profits from this event to the tune of over $400 million . It's that huge. And with it comes year long preparation. The Mas Camps are scattered throughout where people drop buy to make and purchase their elaborate costumes. A perfect finale to fantastic week of work, and a little fun.I do heart Toronto.
Grainy Oriental Seed and Honey Mustard
Mustards are one of the easiest condiments to make. So many variations are possible.I used the extra hot Oriental Seed , softened with honey. Use this in BBQ, Salad dressings, sauces, or as a plain condiment for sandwiches .Enjoy.
1 cup Oriental Mustard Seeds
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
6 tablespoons honey
Pour vinegars over the mustard seeds and spices( mustard powder, cinnamon, ginger) in a non reactive bowl, mix, and cover/soak overnight at room temperature. The seeds will swell and absorb the vinegar. Using a immersion blender or food processor mix while adding the honey gradually. Mix and blend thoroughly . If you feel you need to add more honey or vinegar, do so gradually until its a smooth consistency(not to thick or not to runny). Spoon into clean sterilized jars and refrigerate . The flavor will blend more after a few hours setting in the fridge.I find it tastes even better the second day as any bitterness from the mustard seed has subsided. Store for up to four weeks in the refrigerator.