Thursday, February 28, 2013

Edulis - Gastronomic Hug

Anchovy Stuffed Olives and scrumptious chewy Housemade Bread - EDULIS
D and I wanted to take my cousin H out for her belated birthday dinner.  Like D, H has her birthday over the Christmas holidays, so often, it is lost in the shuffle of crazy holiday activities.  We were away at the time.  The thing about taking H out for her birthday is that she basically eats out 95% of her meals.  So it's like trying to buy Emelda Marcos a pair of shoes.  'Where to go?!'

She actually asked for, which is rare, Colborn Lane.  I called ahead for a reservation because Open Table showed it booked for weeks.  I thought it was odd and so I called in.  It had closed that very night.  *sigh*  Back to the drawing board.  I hit a bunch of review sites, since I feel less in tuned with the foodie scene in Toronto as I was in Vancouver.  There, we knew who was cooking where and what was opening or currently a must eat.  Here, I guess, we've been led by H who keeps us up on where she's eaten.  She already has a running list for D for where to get a Medium Rare burger :).

D and I did separate investigation and landed on Edulis.  Nesltled in a small building in the unlikely Niagara neighbourhood, a couple of doors down from a Buddhist temple, Edulis is being touted as one of Canada's best restaurants.  Run by a husband and wife team, given the modest location and size, are obviously still very invested in the daily success of the restaurant.

I arrived early in some pretty nasty weather.  I thought about walking around some more but it was so awful out and there really is NOTHING else in the area.  I settled in with a nice glass of sparkling cider and looked over the menu.  I was dismayed to find the one dish I had planned on ordering gone from the menu.  I do that because, as my readers know, be rather fussy and didn't want to run into issues.  D knows the drill.  I pick my food in advance.  I checked my phone to be sure and there it was, still on their daily menu. It was. *sigh*  It was a Halibut dish on the Truffle menu.  I double, triple checked with the staff but they confirmed they tend to update the menu daily and print out what's available that day.  Normally Tobey, the owner, tries to make sure the menu on line is updated too.  *sigh*.

D and H arrived and ordered a nice Cava.  They have an nice wine list with a good span of price and selection.  They also have a nice array of by the Glass as well, which is great should you all be ordering different meats.  As we studied our menus, we were unanimously confused as to where the starter and main line was drawn.  What all of us had missed in our reading was that this was one of those Small Plates places...... *sigh*.  Have you read my reviews of this ilk?  like Cru, or Ensemble.  I am not a big fan for mainly cosmetic reasons.  See, when ranking the price of a place on most sites, they use the average price of a dish.  But really, the price is deceiving because you actually have to order 2-3 plates to feel sated.  Actually, even the staff always recommend you order at least 2-3.   Often with 2-3 people, this covers the whole menu because there is normally only a 10 dish selection.   Each individual small plate on the Edulis menu was approximately 20 dollars and the truffle menu averaged at about 50$/plate.  I'm just being up front with potential guests so you are not surprised.
Warm Potato Salad - EDULIS - Toronto
Having been explained the menu, we were all at a loss what to order.  I regretted the suspicion that D and H were worried there was not enough for me to eat and I had the worry that they wouldn't eat what they really wanted to eat.  My eyes wandered over to the Chef's tasting menu.  For 50 or 70$ you are in the hands of the Chef.  Alas, it said it had to be the whole table.  We asked what our options were because I do not eat meat.... nor really enjoy really gamey sauces, as she queried my boundaries :).  I think they were a bit sympathetic because it was a Birthday dinner because they said it was fine.  We ordered the smaller which was a 5 course meal where you leave your self in the hands of the Chef who promises to be 'nice' :^D.  He was.

Smoked Herring a l'Huile - EDULIS Restaurant - Toronto

It started a tad inauspiciously with Herring with Carrots in a L'Huile in Oil.  I don't mind Herring.  I prefer it more smoked, mind you.  H hates Herring and D is not a big fan.  As well, neither H nor I like things served in Oil.  It came a large terrine filled to the brim with Oil.  I find it aesthetically unpleasing.  I held my carrots over the dish trying to drain as much Oil as possible.  H tried some Herring but not much.  D and I had most of it but I regretted it.  It repeated.  It was VERY VERY fishy exacerbated by the cold serving as well.  The carrots were very nice but still very Oily.  It was accompanied by a small side of warm German Potato Salad.  It was very good.  I sopped up the remaining creamy vinagrette with their chewy housemade bread.  The Herring was to be on only disappointment, thankfully.  Next time, I shall specify no Herring.  The rest of our meal was STELLAR, though the pace slow but felt like the stress of the day was melting away as we sat chatting.  Again, just informing you.  I felt like I was back in Barcelona, in the early days when my friends told me going out for dinner isn't meant to be transactional.  Waiting is part of the meal.  It's time to talk and enjoy the evening.

Charcoal Warmed Snowcrab and Berkshire Jowl with Candy Cap Mushroom Broth -EDULIS
Our second dish was just amazing, one that H and I had looked at on the original menu.  It was Charcoal Warmed Snowcrab with Berkshire Pork Cheeks with a Cap Mushroom Broth poured over.  My serving came without the Pork.  The Crab was delicately flavoured and the Broth just exploded with flavour.  All three bowls were drained.  D and H thought the combination of the Pork and Crab was lovely.
Veal and Sweetbreads with Hazelnuts - EDULIS - Toronto
Seared Albacore Tuna with Beets - EDULIS Restaurant - Toronto
Our third dish were completely separate.  I had a salad of Seared Albacore Tuna with Beets 3 ways and Pumkin Seeds.  D and H had Veal and Sweet Breads with Hedgehog Mushrooms.  H was a tad concerned about the Sweetbreads since the last time she had them, it was texturally unpleasant.  These were prepared differently.  They were fried Crisp.  They thoroughly enjoyed the Veal and H like the Sweetbreads but D ate the lion's share.  My Salad was delicate and full of flavour.  It was a winfall that I love Beets!

Morrocan Halibut Cheeks - EDULIS Restaurant - Toronto

Goat and Meatballs with Grated Carrot and Celeriac Puree - EDULIS Restaurant - Toronto
Our fourth dish were separate as well.  D and H had Goat with Meatballs on Celeriac Puree.  I had Morrocan Halibut Cheeks over Celeriac Puree with Shaved Carrots.  The Halibut was very well seasoned and flavourful.  It was a touch over done but it was on that Celeriac Puree, I forgive anything :).  The Goat was very very mild and perfectly cooked.  The Meatballs were savoury and comforting.  D scraped the terrine clean.

Blood Orange Crema Catalana - Bliss! - Edulis Restaurant - Toronto
Our dessert was an AMAZING take on Crema Catalana, or Spanish Creme Brulee was how she described it.  I would say it is nothing like a Crema Catalana, which I find cloying and pudding like.  This was in a classification in itself.  I had a whisper of a Sugar Crust on top.  You couldn't feel it with a tap of the spoon nor seen the caramel but when you scooped it up, you could have that paper thing Sugary glass.  The Cream itself was nicely perfumed with Orange and was a very strange sensation of Foamy Mousse.  I say strange because it was so light it felt more like Cappucino foam but it did not feel like it lacked substance.  It had a Blood Orange jelly on the bottom with bits of Blood Orange.  I will searched the depths of the internet to try to replicate this dessert it was SOOOOO GOOD!

We had a nice Barbera D'Alba, Fennochio 2011 which did not conflict with anything we ate.  It wasn't ideal for the Tuna but it didn't clash.  

Service: Very accommodating, knowledgable and friendly
Family friendly: Not at all.  Perhaps for brunch but not for dinner.
Ambiance: cozy French bistro

King West
169 Niagara Street Toronto

Edulis on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ginger Miso Glazed Salmon over Enoki Miso Soba Soup for the Working Parent

I know I know.  Where have I been.  Funny how life gets in the way and the desire to sleep prevails when you're playing single mom.  D was travelling 100% of the time for most of last year so I was like an organisation machine around the house.  Basically, you'd really have to be a forensic genius to find evidence of my backside on our couch during the week.  Can I just say that single mom's are truly goddesses!

Anyhoo, I finally got around to cooking a Soba dish last night.  Something D has been whinging for me to do for months, literally.  I put it off for a few months claiming I didn't have the Miso I wanted.  When I found the Organic, non GMO stuff I wanted a couple of weeks ago, I ran that excuse out.  So after we bought this lovely slab of Atlantic Salmon this past weekend, I finally decided I make Soba for D.   I was working yesterday so I do what I always do when I know it's my turn to cook after work.  I mentally lay out a plan of action during the day.  On top of my episode of single-momhood, I'm also a type A planner.  That means, I hate wasted action and energy.  I made this dish from start to finish in 45 minutes and that is mainly because I marinated the Salmon for 25 minutes.

I hadn't planned on this dish being my post to reinvigorate my blog but D insisted I document and I was darned if I was going to document it anywhere else but here.  I unfortunately do not have a photo.

I will write this up the way I made the dish so you know how it can be done in a tight timeline, like coming home at 6, feeding the kid until 6h30 and then starting dinner to sit down by 7h15 so kiddo can play before his bath.

Ginger Miso Glazed Salmon over Enoki Miso Soba Soup

Serves 4

400 g of Salmon cut into 4 portions
1 inch Ginger, grated or finely minced
1 1/2 T White Miso paste
1 T Low Sodium Soy Sauce
2 T Rice Wine Vinegar
1/2 T Mirin or Agave Syrup (I usesd Agave because I could not find the Mirin fast enough)
1 t Sesame Oil
2 small or 1 large Clove Garlic, minced or pressed
1 t Chili, minced


8 c Water
3-4 T White Miso Paste (I'm Korean so I like it stronger, add more to taste)  
2 Cloves Garlic
1/2 inch Giner, minced (optional)
1/2 T Green Chili minced (optional)
3 bundles Soba Noodles (Soba typically come in portioned bundles in the packet.  The diameter is about the size of an average women making a circle with her pointer finger to her knuckle on her thumb)
1 packet Enoki Mushrooms
4 Baby Bok Choy, washed and root chopped off (I find it bitter)
4 Green Onions, chopped

Here we go!

Cut the Salmon.  Now I knew everything else I was chopping on the cutting board was going in the boiling cauldron of Miso Soup so I did not wash it after.  If you are worried, wash before chopping anything else on it.  I would not apply the same caution to the wind with Poultry.  If it were me, I'd wear hazmat suit dealing with Poultry, hence I don't cook Poultry.  

Rinse the Bok Choy, trim and set aside in a colander.

Fill a large Pot with the 8 c Water and place on the stove.  If your stove is slow, put on medium heat now.

Chop all the Garlic, Ginger, and Chili for both Marinade and Soup.

In a non reactive baking dish, ceramic or glass, place the 4 portions of Salmon.

Whisk all the Marinade in a small prep bowl.  Test to see if it is as Salty, Sweet or Tangy as you like.  It's about the consistence of loose pudding.  If too thick, loosen with Vinegar or water. Pour over, making sure it gets all over including underneath.  You can flip it over once.  Set aside a room temp. Yes this is fine so long as you are cooking right away.

You have some time here.  I went to check on kiddo who was playing with his trains.  Or you can chop the stuff for the Soup during this segment of time. 

Preheat the oven 400F.  Line a baking sheet with Parchment Paper (NOT WAX!)  I like using Parchment even on my nonstick pans when dealing with gooey marinades that tend to burn and char.

Turn the Water up to a boil.

Place the Salmon on the sheet and back for 14-15 minutes.  D would say 12 because he likes it a bit ruby in the middle.   You can spoon some of the marinade over.  Do not use the Marinade after.  It is done unless you cook it because you had raw fish in it.

Add the 3-4 T of Miso into the boiling Water with the Garlic, Chili and Ginger.  Whisk to dissolve the Miso.  I also throw in the whites of the Green Onions in now too.  Reduce to simmer.

When your fish has 7 minutes left, turn up the heat to rapid simmer/low boil.  Add the Soba Noodles and stir until they are softened up and separated, 1-2 min.

For the Enoki Mushrooms, simply open the packet,  Cut the root end off and place directly into the water on top of the Soba.  Spread around a bit.  Then right on top of that, place the Bok Choy.  Cover and let cook on Medium High until Fish is done.  Turn off the heat.

In two large, noodle bowls.  Yes, you should have noodle bowls for occasions like this.  Soup or Cereal bowls will not suffice.  Have you been to a ramen place? If you don't have, Try using a smaller mixing bowl for now and go out tomorrow and buy Asian Noodle Bowls.  Using tongs or pasta fork, dish out one Bok Choy per bowl and equally portion out the Noodles and Mushrooms.  Ladel the Soup over the Noodles.

Place the Salmon On top.  Serve garnished with the Greens of the Green Onion.  As far as Koreans are concerned, no, Green Onion is not an optional garnish on the Miso.  ;D