Saturday, November 29, 2008


I've read that this is a Roman Christmas favourite. It's filled with nuts and fruit, sweetened with honey and wine, and dark with chocolate.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp each pepper and ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2-1/2 cups each whole unblanched almonds and hazelnuts
  • 2-1/2 cups chopped walnuts
  • 1-1/2 cups golden raisins
  • 1-1/4 cup candied fruit
  • 2/3 cup minced orange rind
  • 1 cup liquid honey
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 oz semisweet chocolate, melted
  • icing sugar

In a small bowl, blend flour, cocoa, pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon; set aside. In separate bowl, combine almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, raisins, candied fruit and orange rind; set asid.

In large saucepan, bring honey, sugar, and wine to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate. Blend in flour mixture, then nut mixture.

Divide into 3 portions; place each on on waxed paper. With wet hands, shape into 10 x 4 inch logs, pressing to break air bubbles and pushing in any exposed nuts. (you wouldn't want yor nuts showing, afterall). Peel off paper; place on greased baking sheet.

Place in cold oven; turn to 350 F and bake for 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool for 10 minutes; let cool completely on racks. Wrap in plastic and foil; let stand for 24 hours

To serve, sift icing sugar over top.

So...try it yourself, or show up to tapas on Friday. I'll be serving it with the coffee at about 9 or 10.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


We just got our last portion of the year from our share in a local garden Co-op. It's been quite a challenge some of the weeks to come up with dishes to make that the entire family will not turn their noses up at. Like, really...what are you supposed to do with an enviro bag full of kale?

Today, while everyone was at church, I was sitting at the dining room table looking through some of my Moosewood cookbooks and came across something I'd seen before, this recipe for a polenta dome. I've never made polenta, but always was intrigued by the thought of it.
It turned out great and everything was so fresh that, I'm thinking, this would only be this great at this time of year.

Polenta is to the Italians as what potatoes are to the North Americans and the Irish, and what rice is to the Orient. The most basic recipe of polenta is boiled cornmeal with a little salt. This polenta dome has caramelized onions and garlic, shredded summer squash, and grated cheddar and parmigiano-reggiano cheeses. It is served with marinated roasted vegetables. Almost any vegetables will do...the more colour, the better the photo opp.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

2 to the power of 1 = 2

"Mr. H.? My sister said that you said that you believe in that true?"

"If by 'belief' you mean do I think that everyone has the right to love anyone they want to love and that everyone's sex life is their own business, then , yes, I do believe in gays."

Honestly...just because I stop believing in Santa Claus, doesn't mean that I stop believing in EVERYTHING!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

tongue in cheek

These things just seem to go too fast. The tapas Fridays, I mean. You know, you've got all these amazing people show up with fantastic food which they've prepared or finish preparing at our home, and then during the evening several tempting conversations are calling from all corners of the room, and then there's the fire and the homemade music coming from the boys outside...and, before you have a chance to take it all in, everyone is saying goodnight. All we're left with are feelings of warmth and wonderful mental (and digital) images of time well spent. Poor us. Boo hoo hoo.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Translation from Japanese: it was an honourable feast.


Tapas this week was smaller than usual in attendance, but not small on presentation and gastronomy. Here are some of the food highlights:

makizuchi - wrapped sushi [ Luci's sushi ]

Curried scallops and zucchini by Cheri

Cucumber cups with three different fillings by Brian.

  • Curry chicken
  • Mediterranean
  • Asian chicken

Spinach frittata by Cheri

Saturday, April 12, 2008

"the best far"

Blue Cheese Potato Tarts

Sweet Pepper Salad and Lebanese Tabbouleh in Pita Bread

Marinated Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Apple Chutney

"You'd better sit down before trying that."

And the thing that put the bomp in the bomp-she-bomp-she-bomp, was the seemless transition from eating to opening instrument cases. There was the sound of music...people were putting a part of themselves "out there"...something that we have been hoping would happen for some time.

My only issue was that people left at 10:30. What's up with THAT? When it was just the food and drink, people used to stay well past midnight and sometimes till 2:00am. Now that the music has started, we'll have to keep that going AND get people to stay late.

If only we could get Cheri to stop yawning so early in the evening.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

happy easter

Resurrection Buns


  • 2 Tbsp yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup warm water

Let mixture rise. (indeed)

Combine in large mixing bowl:

  • 3 cups warm water
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Add the yeast mixture and then add 10 cups of white flour and mix together until no longer sticky. You will probably need to add more flour as you adjust the texture. Kneed until smooth and elastic. (Approx. 8-10 minutes) Let rise in a greased bowl until double.

To form buns, cut off egg size pieces from the dough and pop a large marshmallow into the centre of your dough piece and pinch securely around the marshmallow. Roll on the the table to smooth the ball of dough into a nice bun shape. Dip top of ball into melted butter and roll in a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon. Place on greased baking sheet and let rise for 90 minutes. Bake at 390 degrees for 16-18 minutes.

Makes 40-50 buns.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

hope floats

Speaking of GROANING...

I got invited to do the swim portion of the Morden Triathlon last year and fared quite well, but had an interesting experience, which lead me to believe that I'm perhaps not invincible.
The race organizer announced in the pre-race meeting that the water temperature fell within the range to allow wetsuits, to every one's relief. I, on the other hand, had never practiced swimming with mine, although I came equipped with it. Many people like the suits because of the warmth and the added buoyancy.

The race began and we all politely made our way into the water without fighting for positions. I was swimming along...swim...swim...swim...when suddenly I felt the long large zipper at the back of my suit open, and my suit begin to fill with cold, cold lake water. I began to panic. What happens when a suit gets completely filled? Will I sink? Should I call out for help and get pulled from the water and therefore disqualify myself? What would my relay team members think?
The suit didn't continue to fill and so some of the panic left me. I managed to redo the zipper and compose myself. Just a moment or so later I was back into active stroke, stroke, stroke, breathe mode. After the 2 kilometers of self speak, I came out of the water ahead of perhaps 50% of the pack, and feeling quite pleased with myself for pressing on when panic came, and for finishing well.

It wasn't until some time alone during the 90 minute drive home that I suddenly began to feel fragile. I remembered the feelings of panic I had in the water when I thought I was going to go down. The feelings were foreign. I felt out of control. I thought of my wife and kids. I thought that perhaps my recent decision to rethink my concept of God was ill-timed. I remembered someone once telling me that dying by drowning is a horrible thing but that the moment just before death, there is an experience of euphoria or ecstasy, or some crazy thing like that. Then I thought, well, if that's true, how do they know that's true? Who's the guy they get to do the experiment?

This year I heard rumblings that I will be asked again, which would suit me fine. I just hope that I can remain bouyant after losing all of this winter baggage. Hopefully the day will be another cold one and we can use the wet suits once again.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


I've had tapas on the brain lately. So I made some...again...and will continue to do so every other Friday until my restaurant opens. If I get around to it, I'll eventually invite everyone who is interested in joining the crew who have passed through my Friday back door. Be prepared for much more than great tapas, but you'll have to be here to find out what you're missing.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


leaning into the winter wind
steadied by a pair of legs
a flash through hibernating limbs
an ensnared orb captured

Friday, January 04, 2008

new title

I have changed to title of the blog to perhaps marry it with the intent of this space. The old title I Wonder no longer seemed appropriate as I have made the focus here to be more about food.

I have been thinking a little further about what I hope to accomplish here, and a title having to do with food would not be entirely fitting. Therefore I have chosen The Groaning Board to perhaps give a broader focus than simply food; although a groaning board has almost everything to do with food, and abundance, and plenty.

Simply put, a groaning board refers to how the cupboards on which the food was served in colonial times groaned under the weight of so much delicious food. It is a bountiful spread of delicious and nutricious food.

I'm not one to go around quoting bible verses, but something that comes to mind when I think of the word groaning, is a verse in Romans where the author says that when there is something in us that needs to get out, but we are unable to form the words, the spirit says them for us with groans that words cannot express. That is a lovely picture of what I hope the groaning board will do.

As I thought of this description, I immediately felt that it would be an appropriate name for the collective. It would not only be a fitting description of what I hope the restaurant will become, but leaves room for the much broader intent of the collective; which is to provide opportunities for an abundance of food, music, art, culture, discussion, understanding, and personal growth. To provide a place where people will share their lives in ways beyond simple language. To express their life passions with language that crosses many boundries.

So, here's another step towards the goal. Remember, though, I have 14 years to get this all together. Who knows what it will become. And you're not allowed to hold me to anything.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Mushroom Bisque

I didn't think that I would quickly find a soup that I liked better than carrot, but it has happened; and on p. 21, seven pages before carrot in the Moosewood cookbook. Here it is:

  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 3 fist-sized potatoes
  • 1.5 cups chopped onion
  • 1.5 cups stock or water
  • approx. 2 tsp. salt
  • 1.5 lbs. fresh mushrooms
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 3 cups milk, scalded
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2-3 Tbsp dry sherry (I used 3)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Tamari (which is a deluxe soy sauce; I used reg. soy)
  • fresh black pepper
  • freshly-chopped chives or scallions

Slice potatoes thinly. Chop celery and mushrooms coarsely. Begin cooking the onion in butter, adding 1 tsp. salt. When the onion becomes translucent add the potatoes and the celery. Continue to cook over fairly low heat, mixing well, so the butter coats everything. After several minutes add the mushrooms, water, and remaining salt. Cover and cook over medium heat 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Puree the entire mushroom mixture in a blender until absolutely smooth. Return it to a soup kattle (if possible, use a double boiler or a "waffle" heat-absorbing pad) and heat very slowly, with utmost care, as you whisk in the scalded milk, cream, sherry, and tamari. Heat only until hot enough to serve! If cooked or boiled, this soup will easily curdle and loose its texture.

Serve immediately, topped with freshly-chopped chives and freshly-grated black pepper. This soup goes well with garlic croutons.