Despite my love of good food, I am not a frequent participant of the numerous food events held in and around my city. I do not consider myself a homebody but compare to many of my food loving friends, I really do not get out much. Last week was an exception. On Tuesday, I enjoyed a most wonderful evening filled to the bream with great food, great drinks, great atmosphere, and a great cause. The Stop’s Night Market was an all-you-can-drink-and-eat festival featuring high profile local restaurants and popup vendors. Money raised from this event was enough to provide three days of healthy food for 9000 people! Check out the great recap by foodpr0n and Bon Eats.
Earlier in the week, I also caught wind that ACE Bakery celebrates their 20th anniversary with a series of artisan incubator workshops. I signed up for Friday’s Spirit Tree Ciderie Tasting Workshop not knowing what to expect. I love cider and the course description mentioned guided tasting. That was already more than enough incentive.
What I experienced was so much more. In the airy space of Dish Cooking Studio, owners and cider makers Thomas Wilson and Nicole Judge gave us an informative presentation on cider making, tasting, food pairing, and the challenges facing small artisanal producers. We tasted the pub cider with creamy riopelle cheese and iced cider with award winning Bleu d’Elizabeth (Fromagerie du Presbytere) in generous portions. We tried two different cider cocktails and mushroom pate made with cider. We were treated with hard cider pulled pork recipe which I am eager to try at home. But the most surprising part of all was the loot bag. Every participant of the workshop was gifted with six-pack of pub cider and a baguette!
While M and I enjoyed the workshop and take home cider immensely, we were both stumped about the baguettes. Although delicious, they certainly do not fit in with our low gluten diet. I am the one who cooks so naturally the baguettes came home with me.
I started tentatively with a few slices thrown in to my batch of Green Gazpacho. The bread thickened the chilled soup beautifully. I will tell you more about this new summer favourite later this week. You may think it looks too lean, too green, or too healthy. But trust me, I cannot stop sipping on this tangy no-cook soup.
I made a pan full of olive oil toast which handily decimated the remainder of a loaf. I sliced the stale but still soft baguette into thin slices, about 5mm thick. The bread was left to dry overnight. Next morning, I dipped one side with olive oil and toasted them in a 325F oven until golden all over. The toasts will be awesome delivery vehicle for baked ricotta cheese at a party this weekend.
One loaf to go and my favourite cookbook told me exactly what to do. The Grand Central Baking Book has a recipe for Bread Pudding Muffin (recipe is available at Leite’s Culinaria). Can you say Awesome Brunch Idea? Custard and stale bread are made for each other and serving them in individual portion is totally genius. The custard is lightly scented with vanilla and cinnamon, nothing challenging. I soaked the bread cubes for a full 24 hours in the fridge ensuring no dry bits remained. The bottom of each muffin was custardy while the top was delightfully crunchy in all the right places. A snowy cap of icing sugar gave each muffin a festive look.
With all the baguettes put to good use, I finally breathed a huge sigh of relief. Although I did not pay for them from my own pocket, wasting food is just wrong. The good people at The Stop try hard everyday to feed wholesome food to the less fortunate of the city. It would be hypocritical of me to support their fundraiser one day and throw away food on another.