Quanto Basta

Assignment #3: Earliest food memory and/or experience

I tried my first oyster when I was ten years old.

I’m standing in the middle of a Loblaws seafood department with my mom, who is in firm, businesswoman mode. We did this often: I would ask (and by ask I mean beg) to spend a Saturday working with my mom while she toured her stores. The reality of this however, would be me, exploring as much square footage possible before that inevitable page would come through the loudspeaker with my name attached to the end of it.  Would Jackie Dalimonte please come to the customer service desk?? This was my mom’s way of making sure her daughter wasn’t the latest victim of a Code Adam(retail lingo for a child has gone missing somewhere in the store).

Today, however, I didn’t wander away as I usually would have. When we got to the seafood department, I instantly noticed a Chef. His name was Chris, as my mom informed, and he was sampling off oysters.

“Do you want to try one?” Mum asked

“Okay!” As if I knew exactly what I was getting myself into.

Barely tall enough to watch Chris drive and twist the shucker into the knuckle of the oyster all while scraping and peeling back the top shell to reveal the slimy grey interior, I played it off as if I’d seen this done a thousand times before. Then, Chris handed me the oyster: having no real idea what to do with it, I looked to my mom for some direction. She squeezed a little lemon on it and then acted out the motions to which I would have to make, simultaneously, using my hand, neck and head to shoot this sucker back.

I remember the shell being cold on the tips of my three fingers as I brought it closer to my mouth and, right before it hit my lips, a fresh whiff of the ocean. As I slurped the salty oyster back, I kept my eyes locked on my mother. After I swallowed, she smiled, assuring me that I had done it right.  (Midway through this whole experience, I noticed that my mom was making the oyster eating motion with me, as I can only imagine pageant moms do with their daughters during a full glitz pageant)

 I liked it instantly, and not for its flavor.

I didn’t know it then, but that oyster was the first emotional affair I had had with food; it became less of a memory and more of an experience.




Assignment #2

It’s Saturday morning and (as per the usual) I’m at the Market; it’s earlier then I wish for it to be, the weather outside is still too cold to be considered crisp, and my only real goal at this point is to get coffee into my system.

I’m here at the Market often enough to understand that there is a prime time for me to show up; if my timing is off by a half an hour, I might as well be doomed. It’s early enough to browse the weekly bounty, exchange a few words with my cheese guys, and still be able to take my time to find some food inspiration for the day. I know that if this grand window of opportunity is missed, I will then, and only then, be lucky enough to fall into a sub-category of shoppers that I like to call: everybody else

I really only do my shopping at the Market on Saturday’s for no other particular reason other than to find some inspiration for one simple dish. The dish is usually unknown until it is ultimately conceived by whatever ingredient sparks my interest. Today, for whatever reason, it just so happened to be skirt steak, baby Bok Choy and watercress.

Last week, it was the watermelon radish.

By the time I get home, I have picked up a few more things along the way: cilantro cress, an orange, scallions and capers. I throw my iPod on shuffle, swing open my back door to let the latest seasons’ breeze blow in and crank up the front burner on my electric stove to its highest setting so that my cast iron pan will be ready for me, no matter what.

At the market, I’d already asked my butcher to give the skirt a nice trim so I wouldn’t have to (I trust him enough to get it done and expect that he does it better than I ever could), and begin to get my meeze all in check: S and P plus some olive oil over the steaks, the Bok Choy quartered and set aside for some post-skirt/last minute searing. I throw some watercress, shaved scallions and cilantro in a bowl and draw one firm half-turn of the orange down the Microplane, dusting just enough of the orange flakes across the top of the salad like sprinkles over a cupcake. I make a light vinaigrette using the juice from the orange, a little caper juice, good olive oil and salt. I flip the steak; finger poking it until I know it is a good medium rare, then pull it off the heat and allow it to rest. With the pan still smoking, I throw the Bok Choy in for a scorching 30 second wilt, deglazing the pan with the some of the cutting board juices; I allow it finish off the heat. Once rested, I slice the skirt across its grain and arrange it on a board.

My final move is a quick drizzle of dressing over the salad and serve it all up family style… for one.

And this happens, only on Saturdays.



Assignment #1: Describe a Lemon

Oval shaped, and sometimes bigger than a baseball, lemons are most enjoyed like all things at the peak of their ripeness—tender to the touch when given a slight squeeze. The rind of a lemon holds a bold bright yellow hue, that, when punctured, releases an aromatic aroma of citrus and fruity oils.  Never peeled like a orange, but built just like one, the flesh of the lemon is tart and savory, oddly reminiscent of something refreshing.

I think this movie is about a Chef....

The List: YTD

The List (to be completed in to particular order):

1. Try out a new Spa-Change is good… I sound like a Housewife right now, but I’m no over the Stillwater. 

2. Take that god damn food course I have been drooling over for the past 6 months

3. Activate my AGO membership- Thank you Gee. 

4. Go to the AGO at least 5 times this year- at least twice with Gee. 

5. Spend New Years 2015 not at home

6. Say “Yes” to any new experience that comes my way this coming year- My cuzzy Alyx mentioned that she was having a really great 2013. When my sister had asked why, she mentioned she just started saying “Yes” to everything that came her way. I think thats pretty awesome to make that choice and I’m 100% getting in on it. Yes to going out with friends even when I’m too tired from work. Yes to Karaoke. Yes to tobagganing. Yes to all things fun. Check and Mate. 

7. Take trip to Montreal and eat @ Au Pied du Cochon -BOOM! This is already booked and a reservation has already been made. I leave feb 14th. A blog with most certainly follow. Stay tuned….

8. Find a fuckin hobby-I used to have so many hobbies, Now I can’t even think of one. Dear lord my only wish is that I do not enjoy knitting. I can already see myself with a rocking chair and cats. So. Many. Cats. 

9. Check out a Movie at TIFF

10. Blog more!- I’m really hope that is List will give me way more reasons to blog. I’ve always loved to write and even more, loved writing in this blog. If I play my cards right, I’ll be killing two birds with 1 stone.

11. Finish reading a book - For some reason I have developed this terrible habit of starting a book and then moving on to another one that I believe I will have more interest in. This is not the case as I just continue the process that has now left me with a good stack of unfinished books. Break the cycle, Jack. 

12. Submit a piece of my writing into some sort of Publication

13. Date- I need a boyfriend. 

14. Condo Hunt- Looking to move our at some point this year but I’m not making any serious commitments as I fight with the rent/buy options everyday. I at least want to explore my options. 

15. Go spend a Saturday Cooking back in the industry- I miss a good old fashioned Stage. Any one out there lookin’ for free labor? I’m your girl!

16. Hit up a 86’d Monday at the Drake

17. Invest in a new laptop

18. Get my ass back to Italy- 3 Years ago I told myself I would go back for a visit at least once a year. I, of course, have yet to even plan a trip back to the place where I left my heart. This summer I will do it. If I am clear for my vacation time then I’m gonezo.

19. Make donuts

20. Winterlicious & Summerlicious- two-parter right here.

21. Go to Chicago and see the newest EATALY- I just need to go. It involved Nutella.

22. Weekend at a cottage

23. Fancy Food Show in NYC

24. Harry Potter Marathon

25. Take a course on something (other than #2)- 

26. Cook a dinner for my friends- No, not all of you will be invited. It’s time I just put everyone who has ever asked “eh when are u gunna cook 4 me?” (the grammar is accurate) into the same space and fed them because a)I want to and b)to shut them up.  

27. 3rd Annual Taco Party- This year? Mandatory sombreros and tequila.

28. Cut my Hair- I have been growing my hair for the past few years so I can donate it. It’s long enough and its time to cut the chord. Eek!

29. Pearson Airport People Watch-  my number one favourite pastime 

30. BINGO night. -Mild addiction to Bingo halls. Extreme addiction to #WINNING. Wh


Not bad thus far.

To Note:

a) I DID book a trip to Chicago for this past Saturday April 5th…. but you see, the thing is….. I didn’t check to see if my passport was still valid. So, I had to forefeit the day trip to Chi-town and gained a renewed 10 year passport. win-win.

b) THIS Saturday, I will be using my AGO membership for the first time… Gee in tow.

c) I went to a spa about a month ago… and chickened out of going somewhere other than my usual place. 

d) I start the Food Writing course in less than 24 hrs. I’m going to pee my pants I’m so nervous-excited. 

Now just wait for the next update 4 months from now.

Fuck it, It’s Sunday | Tartare Edition: cantaloupe + lime + pancetta + Kozlicks + crispy capers

Fuck it, It’s Sunday | Tartare Edition: cantaloupe + lime + pancetta + Kozlicks + crispy capers

Doing the #oscars right; Ribs & porchetta. Hallelujah!

Doing the #oscars right; Ribs & porchetta. Hallelujah!

FIIS | Winter, in salad form.

FIIS | Winter, in salad form.

#SobeysFam Awesome demo today @sobeys @laird. Come have a taste before the day is done! @rocklobsterfoodco @mattysseafood #takemattyhome (at Sobeys)

#SobeysFam Awesome demo today @sobeys @laird. Come have a taste before the day is done! @rocklobsterfoodco @mattysseafood #takemattyhome (at Sobeys)

Duck in a can. Foie alllll day!  @cabanepdc  (at Au Pied de Cochon)

Duck in a can. Foie alllll day! @cabanepdc (at Au Pied de Cochon)