By Laura Taylor
The holiday season is fast approaching and I am busy gathering ideas for new recipes to try. I do not need to look further when it comes to that because bloggers from the East Coast are the best.
These are my top picks:
Michelle from Bite by Michelle is a real perfectionist when it comes to her recipes. Everything she makes is irresistible. For instance, her Maple Bacon is out of this town and 'a must' to make for friends and/or family during this holiday season. For this recipe, I would buy the bacon from the farmers' market. If you would too, search for naturally smoked bacon. You will not be disappointed because it is full of flavour.
(Photo credit: Bite by Michelle)
Dad of two from Newfoundland is making a big scene with his Rock Recipes these days. His idea for Cranberry Hazelnut Turkey Wellington is very appealing to me because I hate repeating the same cooking every holidays, and in general. Besides, this dish will be perfect for a cozy family dinner and it is not hard to make it at all!
(Photo credit: Rock Recipes)
Just take a look at these home made marshmallows by Purple House Café. That would also make a wonderful gift for someone, wouldn't it?
(Photo credit: Purple House Café)
I love Wendy from Simple Balance. Often in her blog you can see Wendy's kids giving a hand with cooking and baking. I spotted a recipe, which would be awesome to make with my kids. These Raw Gingerbread Snowballs are also healthy and could make a great gift for a health conscious foodie (Hmm... Who could that be?). They are also so easy to make with no baking involved.
(Photo credit: Simple Balance)
The Culinary Chase brings something familiar but new at the same time. This Christmas Bark candy recipe is easy to make. It is also my type of treat, chocolaty, nutty and fruity. For this one, I wouldn't skip good quality ingredients either.
(Photo credit: Feasts and Fotos)
These are my holiday picks. I will surely be busy experimenting with them and would like to know whether you will be to. Happy Holidays!
By Laura Taylor
I have to admit that right now I feel very ashamed because I did not realize that the famous lady Ashburnham lived a few homes away from where I used to live, in downtown Fredericton. Her home is still standing at 163-165 Brunswick Street. All those years later, I am finally getting to know who she was, and why a favourite maritime relish carries her name-Lady Ashburnham's pickles.
Lady Ashburnham was not born with the title. She inherited it from her husband, who originally was from England. She was a telephone operator, whose voice charmed an English solder, whom she later married. They became part of Fredericton's elite...
I read an interesting story about lady Ashburnham and her pickles...you just have to click on the link to read. Appearantly, there was someone else who was making the pickles for the lady...
One thing does not leave my mind is the idea of how fancy the pickles had to be at that time...we are talking about the times when sugar and spices were a rear thing in the home. Those who had it and indulged in it had to feel pretty special. That probably would be like me eating caviars these days.
There are countless versions of these pickles. Several maritime bloggers have posted theirs. Michelle from bite by Michelle makes it with cauliflower. Monica from Older Mommy Still Yummy makes it the more traditional way.
I also made my lady Ashburnham's pickles this year (my husband loves loves loves them). I did not have everything in the pantry when I made it. I used rice vinegar (left from sushi making) instead of a classic vinegar, and did not add celery seeds, nor many onions. Still, the relish turned out amazing and more sweet than tarty...
By Laura Taylor
Nothing prepared me for the treat I discovered on my way to Miramichi.
Almost half way between Fredericton and Miramichi, in the village of Doaktown, is the Miramichi Smoked Salmon facility with dark brown wall siding standing on the main road. Although I did not purchase the smoked salmon right at that facility, the sign gave me the clues where I could find this delicious beast.
While in Miramichi, I imagined how I wanted to eat the smoked salmon but I needed a dark bread for my recipe. I found this super cute bakery, called Napan Bakery, on Water Street, not far from the Rodd hotel. The only downside is you have to pay with cash only. The bread and pastries are amazing there!!! I got a rye bread at the bakery for my salmon recipe I had in mind to try.
Back at home, I went to Sobeys to purchase the smoked salmon, which comes frozen, but there are other locations where you can get it in the Maritimes.
When I needed that craving most, I made a spread out of the salmon with light cream cheese and a home grown dill, and spread it on a rye bread slices (I am starting to like bread and seafood). I also had Picaroon's Melon Head in the fridge (what a coincidence!), which paired really well with my new discovered recipe. It was really special for a Friday afternoon ...and I say, may the weekend begin!
By Laura Taylor
Seafood and bread is not my thing, but it is another story when it is a lobster roll. I was on a mission to try as many as I could this summer. It is a common summer dish in upscale restaurants, farmers markets and take-outs in the Maritimes.
While in Shediac, I found this little and simple looking seafood take-out, called Golden Fry on Main Street and close to Parlee Beach. I swear it was the best lobster roll I tried so far. It was in a true Maritime style, toasted, buttered, and with a little bit of lettuce, with just enough of seasoning not to over power the taste... and did I mention it was affordable! Lobster rolls in Halifax (where I visited recently) were reaching $20! For a giant lobster roll in Shediac, I was delighted to pay just over $10.
This place could be full. Therefore, prepare for a wait! But it is worth it!!!
By Laura Taylor
I am so lucky because I am an at home stay mom, so when my husband goes on the business trip, kids and I drag along. Recently, we went to Halifax. Although the weather did not spoil us with sunshine, we had a blast there. Weather really does not matter when the hotel has a pool, and the kids (the oldest does not do it that often anymore) can jump on beds as much as they wish, right? Anyway, going back to the topic of food and adventure... I had a chance to visit a few trendy places in Halifax and really got in love with haligonians who are simple, funny and down to earth people. And honestly, they are the most friendly Maritimers!
The whole downtown is in a close walking distance, that meant we walked all the time. While we walked, we noticed these big pots of flowers everywhere downtown. Wait, it was not flower pots, it was flower/veggie/herb pots. Ha! How creative!!
My favourite coffee was at Smiling Goat Organic Espresso Bar which is located on the way to the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market. Only good quality coffee is served here. It is bold and aromatic too.
Many good things were said about 2 Doors Down. I had to check it out. Everything in the restaurant is sourced locally, which is a very common thing in Halifax and Nova Scotia. Many restaurants and eateries pride themselves in bringing local products straight to their tables. This place was no exception. I had a burger and was not disappointed. It was melting in my mouth.
I tried PEI Gahan Island Red Beer with my burger. It was a good pair.
More sophisticated was The Bicycle Thief, offering great Italian, seafood cuisine and more. A very popular spot close to the water boardwalk where you can visit without a reservation and be served quickly.
A smart city will not run without smart solutions. One of those would be a very intelligent computerized recycling system in Halifax. These containers have solar panels, which generates electricity to send alert the city about when containers need to be emptied. Way to go Halifax!
I brought a few treats from Halifax, but nothing was as good as pure maple butter...
By Laura Taylor
When I found out that there will be even a Lobster Latte at Honey Beans Coffee during the 5th annual Bay of Fundy Seafood Festival at St. Andrews (June1-8) , I knew I have to drive two hours just to try it. The latte happened to be just a good old fashion Charlotte county joke (it was a regular latte with an added lobster gummy on the lid). My husband and I got a good laugh out of it and enjoyed the drink very much despite a little dissapointment! But, heck, what did I expect? Lobster meat in my drink?
You could not ask for a better weather for the seafood festival. The day when we went (Saturday) was filled with events and things to do from morning to the evening. Knowing that we will spend 4 hours on the road (Fredericton to St. Andrews and back) with our toddler, we had to plan everything accordingly and make sure our little one will want to cooperate with us wherever we decide to go. We went for lunch to Kingsbrae Garden Café. The outside patio was great, and we sat right under a blossoming apple tree. Our order was simple and straight forward. It was a chowder and a lobster roll, which came with sweet potato chips made in house. After all, we came to St. Andrews to try the seafood. The seafood chowder was one of the best I have tried in the province, and the lobster roll came on a croissant (made in house as well) instead of a traditional roll. However, it could be served in other options as well.
There were other events ( which grabbed our attention) happening while we were there, like Lobster Roll Palooza in the downtown where a giant lobster roll (more than 60 feet long) was made in front of a crowd and sold to support a local playground. There was also the Chowder Competition, where one could purchase a bracelet and explore the different chowders served on Water St. then vote to crown the best of the best.
Pretty much the whole town opened up for the seafood-themed celebration.
Our ultimate goal was to find the freshest lobster that we could take home. We went to Spears Fishing and Charter. We bought the lobster already pre-cooked, but you can also buy it fresh , or they can cook it on site for you. The latter was so good that we went for seconds, stopped at the beach and hit the road...There will be another celebration in St. Andrews in the fall called Indulge and I have to make sure that I mark the calendar for that...