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I joined the local food coop, Karma Coop early last month. It is no behemoth like the last one I belonged to, but it certainly gets the job done.

Anyway, I saw these patty pan squashes at the coop, and I thought to myself, what the hell do you do with these?

patty pan squash

They looked so darned cute, so I had to try them. Chocolate and Zucchini happened to run a recipe that looked interesting, so I tested it out this weekend.

patty pan squashes cut up

chopping up herbs

Instead of breaking out the mini-chopper, I just coarsely chopped the herbs, thrashed it all around with the rest of the dressing ingredients.

Originally I wasn’t going to blog about this recipe, but the first forkful I put into my mouth was so delicious, I just had to post about it. The whole recipe is really outstanding and simple to make. Get those patty pans while they’re still in season!

The New York State Fair’s butter sculpture!

I heart the Iowa State Fair

I’ve been very amused with the coverage of Tim Horton’s getting into the NYC market. As a recently displaced Canadian New Yorker, I wonder if it might be a slow news day. There were two articles published in the NYT, one on the day Tim Horton’s unveiled itself, the other the day after with more personal stories. There were also two blog postings on Diner’s Journal. The first one was a taste test between the Dunkins and Tim’s doughnuts and a taste test of the coffee.

Not surprisingly, I’m not a fan of Tim Horton’s. Don’t get me wrong, you will see me from time to time with a cup of Tim’s, and perhaps a doughnut. But honestly, the coffee is just serviceable, and I usually don’t eat the doughnuts. And the last Timbit I had was hard as a rock.

Instead, I’d like to suggest some better options for coffee and a doughnuts in the 5 boroughs:

Coffee
Cafe Regular I used to live right around the corner from this place, and it’s a tiny place with strong coffee. Chocolate croissants there are also great.
Gorilla Coffee also in Park Slope, a great cup of coffee and a nice place to sit if you can snag a seat.
Klatch, the one spot in the financial district that doesn’t feel like the financial district. Lovely service and great place to hang out.

Doughnuts
Doughnut Plant in the Lower East Side, the best thing to get is the creme brulee doughnut. I’m a yeast doughnut person, so any of their yeast doughnuts are fantastic. Their cake doughnuts are pretty good too.
Peter Pan Bakery in Williamsburg/Greenpoint is supposed to be the best. I haven’t gotten around to it, but it’s on the list.

Ok, not a doughnut, but I can’t help but to think of chocolate croissants when I want a cup of coffee. The best place for croissants and chocolate croissants in the city is Patisserie Claude. Heaven in a brown paper bag.

I would just add that I found the best bakery so far in Toronto, and it’s the Harbord Bakery. They had these magnificent chocolate chip cookies with pistachios and whole wheat apple cider doughnuts.

harbord bakery

Who owns organic food?

organic food infographic
From Phil Howard

HT to the Bitten Blog

I love this time of year for food. Spring brings out the best in food holidays!

Here are some handy links for all your questions on seders, courtesy of the NYT:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

Hopefully will get to some Easter related links, sometime later this week.

In case you’re interested, my favourite thing to bring for a seder is chocolate truffles:

Chocolate Truffles
(from epicurious.com)

Yield: Makes about 60 truffles (do not double recipe)

Ingredients
11 ounces Valrhona chocolate (56% cacao)
2/3 cup heavy cream
Valrhona cocoa powder for dusting

Preparation

Finely chop 8 ounces of the chocolate and put in a bowl.

Bring heavy cream to a boil in a small heavy saucepan. Make sure your pan is small, so you’ll lose the least amount of cream to evaporation, and heavy, which will keep the cream from scorching. Linxe boils his cream three times — he believes that makes the ganache last longer. If you do this, compensate for the extra evaporation by starting with a little more cream.

Pour the cream over the chocolate, mashing any big pieces with a wooden spoon.

Then stir with a whisk in concentric circles (don’t beat or you’ll incorporate air), starting in the center and working your way to the edge, until the ganache is smooth.

Let stand at room temperature until thick enough to hold a shape, about 1 hour, then, using a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch opening or tip, pipe into mounds (about 3/4 inch high and 1 inch wide) on parchment-lined baking sheets. When piping, finish off each mound with a flick of the wrist to soften and angle the point tip. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 3 more ounces of the same Valrhona and smear some on a gloved hand. Gently rub each chilled truffle to coat lightly with chocolate. The secret to a delicate coating of chocolate is to roll each truffle in a smear of melted chocolate in your hand. Linxe always uses gloves.

Toss the truffles in unsweetened Valrhona cocoa powder so they look like their namesakes, freshly dug from the earth. A fork is the best tool for tossing truffles in cacao. Shake truffles in a sieve to eliminate excess cacao. Store truffles in the refrigerator.

Mark Bittman also has a nice Minimalist recipe.

Some things I’m thinking about today:

How do we get our crops, what does immigration policy have to do with it
and how does it relate to the economic downturn?

I’ve always wanted to make my own dairy by-products, including butter. The NYT tells you how.

Does Asian Flush Syndrome have a link to cancer? The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism thinks so, read the summary or the science.

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