November 10, 2011

proof rum, olive and olives and pears and spices, Vol. 59

How will you celebrate 11.11.11 tomorrow night? Let us inspire you a little.
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the juiced-up pear 1 1/2 oz spiced* proof rum • 1 oz Ceres pear juice  •  3/4 oz lime juice • 3/4 oz simple syrup • dash bitters • 1 nutmeg clove • vanilla bean garnish (optional)

In cocktail shaker filled with ice, add proof rum, Ceres pear juice, lime juice, and simple syrup. Shake vigorously for about 6 seconds, then strain into 6-ounce cocktail glass. Top with dash bitters and a few gratings nutmeg.


*To infuse proof rum you will need the following ingredients: a 500 ml bottle proof rum • 1 vanilla bean • 1 star anise • a few cloves • 1 cinnamon stick • 1 piece allspice • 1 piece orange zest
Add all the spices to a 500 ml bottle of proof rum. Cover tightly with a lid, shake a few times and place in a cool, dark spot or in the refrigerator and let sit for at least 24-36 hours. Make sure to check it every day to ensure that you are happy with the intensity. You can remove certain flavours as you go, to intensify the ones that you like most. We tend to remove the citrus after day one, and keep the vanilla until the very end.


While doing the TUM event at the Distillery a couple of weeks ago, we had the pleasure of meeting Craft spice-maker Wes Allen. Wes lives in Toronto and has created a business out of spice-making. He currently has no website, but you can get all of his information, such as private shows, TUM events and products on his FB link: Check it out, because we are sure that we will soon be hearing a lot more about Wes.

Yesterday we were finally able to visit the new(ish) olive shop on Queen East – Olive and Olives. Olive and Olives, a small independent chain from Montreal (5 shops) joined Riverside specialty-food row (just east of Broadview on Queen) in early June. 
When we entered the shop we were warmly greeted by Toronto shop-owner, Mia Sturup. Her passion and knowledge for olives, oils and spices was evident as we discussed the possibility of creating cocktails, made of olive oil, spices or her chocolate pearls.

A sampling bar is set up in front of the checkout counter, where you can have a taste of any of her products. As you make your way to the back of the shop, the whisper of jazz music rises above the branches of a faux tree planted beside a small kitchen. Here, regular cooking classes take place, sometimes with retail partner, The Spice Trader (Mia's shop also carries their spices Check out her website for product information, cooking classes and events. (

Olive and Olives carries all things olive – from oils and pastes to...well...olives. Most of their exclusive private label products come from Spain, but they do carry oils from France and other regions as well. It is a great place to look for holiday gifts, as they will be getting lots more in by end of November. We tried some of their bestselling private label olives, stuffed with lemon or blue cheese and they are superb. They also offer these olives in variations of anchovy and more. Not only are the products great, they are all set at a very reasonable price. 
You really must visit Mia for a sample.

After sampling all of these wonderful Spanish exports, we decided to go home and revisit our copy of Mario Batali’s ‘Spain...a Culinary Road Trip.” You cannot help but lose yourself in the pages of this colourful food travel book. The website is also very appealing.

You can find this recipe, recipes for paella, empanadas and Catalans at ( 
The same recipes can be found in the book.


Tortilla Española (by Mario Batali)
Tortilla Española is essentially the national dish of Spain. You can eat it as a tapa, for breakfast, in a bocadillo (sandwich), or for dinner with salad and a bit of jamón. Basically anytime, anywhere. We had a great one at Valdubón and I think it’s because they weren’t afraid to use A LOT of olive oil. No fear!

Serves 4 to 6 as a tapa or appetizer

Ingredients 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil • 1 1/4 pounds waxy potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper • 8 extra-large eggs
Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet or nonstick pan over medium-high until very hot but not smoking. Add the potatoes and onion, season with salt and pepper, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat if necessary so that the vegetables do not brown, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 15 to 20 minutes. Beat the eggs with salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Combine the potatoes with the eggs in the bowl; add to the skillet, spreading the potatoes evenly in the pan, and cook for about 1 minute, just to set the bottom of the egg mixture. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes, or until quite set. Carefully flip the tortilla over (invert it onto a plate if you must, then slide it back into the pan, bottom side up) and cook for 5 minutes longer, until set. Flip out onto a clean plate and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: Sunny with cloudy periods and a high of 10 degrees 
Sunday: Mainly cloudy and a high of 14 degrees

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