James Catering

January 2012

This winter warm up with winter vegetables baked to a turn. Cut onion, carrot, parsnip into generous julienne sticks, toss in a little olive oil sprinkle salt and pepper. Bake flavours together for 1.15 hours at 375 degrees.

Serve them up and feel Wonderful.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Awwwwwe.... Spring

Here we are at the end of March and by the looks of the crocuses popping their heads up in our front lawn, winter may indeed go out like a lamb after all. We can only hope. Of course it may still be a little early to call, but one thing is for sure, the good eating and togetherness of the Easter holidays will definitely raise people's spirits.
Baked Ham with Maple Syrup & Bourbon

This year I recommend that if you celebrate Easter then you do it a little differently and prepare a sweet and savoury Baked Ham with Maple Syrup & Bourbon. Not only is this recipe a simple and tasty crowd pleaser but its a step in the right direction for supporting our pig farmers
who can use all the help they can get.

1 fully cooked bone in ham
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
½ tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dry mustard powder

Pre heat oven to 325, trim excess fat off the ham and score in a diamond pattern with a sharp knife. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth.

Roast for 30 minutes, remove from the oven and brush 1/3 of the glaze over the ham.Repeat twice over the remaining 1 hour of cooking time and then let ham stand for 10 -15 minutes before carving. Serve it up with some scallop potatoes and a nice salad and the Easter meal is sure to be a treat.
Closet Musician

So for a musical suggestion I'm going all CanCon on you. I recently heard the latest from the
Great Lake Swimmers, called Lost Channels. It is a minor masterpiece and deserves the attention it's getting. The haunting and soulful Everything Is Moving So Fast is truly a moving piece of music. Support Canadian music and buy it, and go out and buy it from a Canadian record store.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Open Your Heart this Valentine's

Valentine's Day is just two weeks away. And with that in mind, I ask you to think of the day in a broader context. If the day is about love and loved ones, perhaps this is the year to honour someone special with a charitable donation in their name.

An obvious and deserving recipient of your good will is one of the many organizations assisting the relief effort in
Haiti. There are very few of us in Canada who have ever experienced anything close to what the people of this small Caribbean country are going through right now. It's heartbreaking to watch the suffering that has unfolded but heartwarming to see the outpouring of support from so many Canadians.

So, instead of going out and blowing a big number on Valentine's, consider cooking your sweetheart a wonderful meal at home and donating the savings. It's easier than you think to put on a delicious and romantic meal and the personal touch keeps it real. Stay tuned... the answer is simple and sounds like Filet...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Happy 2010 - are you still recovering? Well, I'm repeating my annual health month again this year - no booze, no butter and early to bed (feeling so good, I may stick with the program at least through February - boycotting Valentine's chocolate might be tough though)... Okay on to bigger and better news... I promised months ago (years?) that I would share the truth about what came first, the chicken or the egg... so, here goes (recorded some 15 years ago)... thanks to my daughter, the young chicken (now a fabulous cook herself who will be able to make a plate look divine when she complete's her BFA at Queen's)... enjoy (next up, I'm thinking yummy omelets and quiche for my next issue of Pure Taste - just click to subscribe).

Monday, November 9, 2009

Oh, and another juicy tidbit re: my other passion... I was not even near a kitchen one Monday night this summer (yes, already pining for summer) when I was lucky enough to attend the Doves[http://www.myspace.com/dovesmyspace] show at Kool Haus here in Toronto. This fantastic trio, hailing from the midlands of England, were on the road touring their new album Kingdom of Rust. I highly recommend any of the Doves four albums, not a disappointment in the bunch. Think early Coldplay meets U2. They play with heart and soul. See them before they start playing stadiums where you literally can’t see them. Next up, back to reality and back to the kitchen where I have several thousand tourtieres to prepare for the fast-approaching holiday season.
Okay, okay, I wrote this months ago and forgot to post it on my blog, so in case you missed my July issue of Pure Taste and are starting to pine for summer, here goes (remember BBQs work in the winter too - have fun with that)...

Summer is BBQ Time

Like most things in life, you get what you pay for in the world of barbeques.
You don’t need to spend a fortune, but count on about $400 to get you into a quality machine. You won’t regret it later because there is no later with a cheap unit, whereas if you look after it (more on that below), a quality piece will give you many years of service.

I’m a firm believer in cast iron grills. They last longer, but more importantly, they retain their heat and give you those wonderful grill marks, just like the pros!

I’m not so keen on bells and whistles – side burners, rotisseries and infra-red all seem like gimmicks to me. Spend on quality, keep it simple, and it won’t disappoint.

When it comes to brands, I’m a fan of Broil King; they are well built, good value and best of all they are manufactured right here in southern Ontario.

Barbeque Care

Like a good friend you want to treat your barbeque right. Keep it covered, keep it clean and most importantly keep it in good condition, replacing suspect parts immediately. A poorly maintained barbeque is akin to having a bomb on your porch.

Caper Burgers on the BBQ – A Recipe

1 lb. medium & 1 lb. lean minced beef, preferable organic
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon freshly chopped garlic
A couple of eggs
1 cup of bran buds, does the same thing as bread crumbs, more roughage.
1 teaspoon of Dijon
A small pinch of cumin
1 tablespoon freshly crushed coriander seeds
Salt & pepper

Mix all ingredients gently with and then make patties to the desired size trying not to over handle them. Pre heat the grill on high for at least 10 minutes, then turn it down to medium and put on the burgers, rotate them 90 degrees after 4-5 minutes to get those perfect grill marks, repeat on the other side. Serve on a toasted bun with your favourite condiments.



Monday, April 20, 2009

Spring Clean Your Kitchen...
Rage, Rage Against Useless Kitchen

Top 10 Gadgets Worth Keeping

In my line of work I spend a considerable amount of time in other people's kitchens and I'm always amazed at the number of gadgets they have - everything from pasta measurers to turkey cannons (Google it). For the sake of brevity (and to keep from overheating on the topic), I think it's best to discuss what you DO need as opposed to what you don't. So here goes - my advice on a well equipped kitchen:

1. Good quality knives: 9 or 10 inch chef's knife, a serrated knife, a couple of paring knives and a carving knife. You don't need to spend a fortune. What's most important is that you keep them sharp by using a steel often - if a knife is dull it's useless and potentially dangerous.

2. Excellent stainless pots: a reasonable sized pasta/stock pot, a couple of sauce pans and a couple of good quality Teflon fry pans are key. I'm also a fan of cast iron fry pans; they are inexpensive and offer a nice, consistent heat for
frying, so pick one up and you won't be disappointed.

3. A food processor: you get what you pay for here. Spend a little more, but avoid too many bells and whistle and put the money into one with a more powerful motor. Power and durability is key.

4. A ricer: available at most hardware stores, this inexpensive little number does wonder when pureeing veg. Try riced potatoes as an alternative to mashed.

5. A digital thermometer: takes all the guess work out of roasting!

6. A gas stove: yes I said gas stove! Your stove is the single most important piece of equipment in your kitchen, and gas is the only way to go. There is not a single good restaurant in the world that does not have a gas range; electric cook tops just can't compare. It's all about the evenness and responsiveness of the heat, which means you have more control, and control is key to good cooking. But don't despair, you won't starve if you have to rely on electric for a few more years.

7. 2-3 pair of well-sprung tongs: these are the most indispensable item in a well-equipped kitchen. And by now, you know that in my mind a well-equipped kitchen is a lean kitchen, where essentials rule. The beauty of such tongs is that they can go from pulling out hot oven racks to stirring to tossing to plucking like no other implement (the key is to ensure they are stainless and, as I said before, well-sprung).

8. A stainless steel whisk: goes without saying when it comes to sauces.

9. A good sharp stainless cheese grater. Great for cheese, zesting, and makes short work of boiled eggs for egg salad.

10. A good quality stainless strainer or colander.

As for the rest of the gadgets that may be gathering dust or lying broken in your kitchen (including your under-used microwave oven or Cole Cleaner, designed to disinfect pop cans with ultra violet light)... I say put them into a box and take them to Goodwill, then enjoy all the extra counter and cupboard space you'll have in your kitchen (and the money you'll save eschewing useless gadgets for life).

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against useless kitchen gadgets.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Well, Valentine’s Day will soon be upon us, and most people are looking for some sort of inspiration. I’m a firm believer in surprises – whether it’s dinner out, a nice meal by the fire, or a late night walk through your local winter wonderland - whatever you choose, a surprise means you’ve been thinking about that special person in your life, and who doesn’t love that kind of attention. Here are my top...

91/2 Valentine Surprises (hope they help inspire something creative)

  1. Select a great piece of music, old or new, it doesn’t matter. Tunes are forever.

  2. Deliver a hot cup of coffee in bed with the newspaper. This only works if it’s something you don’t normally do (I daily spoil my wife this way).

  3. Enlarge and frame a great shot of just the two of you.

  4. Have flowers delivered to her office – nothing quite brightens up a day like budding blooms.

  5. Take his car for the day, and get it detailed – everyone loves a clean car.

  6. Ensure her schedule is clear, make up some believable and boring obligation to get you both out of the house (like grocery shopping) then whisk her away for a surprise overnight. My wife did this for me once and it was a thrill.

  7. Candles, light lots of candles – it’s an instant mood changer (we light candles almost every night).

  8. Plan on a simple TV dinner (not the frozen '60s kind): Rent a romantic flick, put on your pyjamas and chill in front of the TV with your favourite comfort food.

  9. Don’t forget to include the kids – they’re often the most eager and thankful recipients of a Valentine surprise (especially if it’s chocolate).

91/2... Pick up a little box of truffles just for you (in case your sweetheart forgets).

And this just in from sister Bess (thank you!)... Best Fudge EVER!... enjoy: This recipe may need to be tried a couple of times before you perfect it – to get fudge just right not too sweet. Bro-in-law Tommy has been making this recipe for years and is now a true expert. The recipe was passed down from Mother Ella.

Mother Ella's Chocolate Fudge
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup icing sugar
21/2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup salted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter

Mix together brown sugar, icing sugar, cocoa in medium sauce pan. Stir in whipping cream put on stove on med low heat. Add 1/2 cup butter in pieces keep pot at med low heat - bring to a boil - it will take about 10 minutes, stir very infrequently (only stir enough to get contents off bottom of pot and make sure it does not burn). Do not over stir or fudge will become too sweet. When it comes to a boil, have it boil for about 15 seconds and no more than 30 seconds. Test if ready by dropping a bit of fudge into of cup cold water - it needs to become a ball before it drops to the bottom of the cup - then it is ready. Take off heat and let sit 10 minutes, add a teaspoon of vanilla and a tablespoon of butter. Beat with an electric mixer on high until sticky - beat for about 10 minutes. Pour onto buttered flat serving platter that has a lip. Let sit for 2 hours. Cut into squares.

Sounds yummy... we're going to try it at JAMES Catering and will report back...

Until next time... simply entertain, and entertain simply (and if this doesn’t come naturally, just click here).


p.s. My hot music tip for these chilly days of February is Thievery Corps’ latest offering Radio Retaliation. This duo seems to have a knack for combing the exotic and the upbeat. I saw them put on an amazing show a couple of years ago at the Carlu and have been a big fan ever since.

"JAMES Catering offers an irresistible combination of delectable food and great service. Jamey has come to our rescue on so many occasions over 18 years, serving lunches for 145 women at the house, catering small dinners where we just want to talk with our guests, making everyone feel comfortable and cosseted. He is our life-saver."

Mary Janigan and Tom Kierans
Corporate Director

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