Glorious day of gluttony

August 25, 2008

To say that Saturday was about food is an understatement.

A little after 10 in the morning, four of us piled into my car and headed west down the Queen Elizabeth Way. We had been talking about Lobsterfest 2008 at Caroline Cellars for more than a week. Nothing was going to stop us, not construction nor hangovers.

Since we were already going to the Niagara region, we stopped in on the Winona Peach Festival just outside (now part of?) Hamilton. I don’t know what I was expecting from a small town fruit festival, but it wasn’t what I got. Instead, there were midway rides, multiple food stands and random booths selling everything from financial services to fake Crocs. Ninety percent of the booths had nothing to do with peaches which was disappointing. But as Jennie said, it was like being at the Ex without the annoying tweens, so it was actually fun. Of course, we managed to eat our way out of there with (canned) fruit ice cream sundaes, ribbon chips, mini panzerotti, Pop Shoppe pop and baskets of peaches. And this was just the appetizer to Lobsterfest’s main event.

After burning off calories with a walk around Niagara-On-The-Lake, we finally made our way to Caroline Cellars. Run by the Lakeit family, it’s a relatively new winery in the region. My friend Justine is one of the said Lakeits and she introduced us some of their offerings. I admit I’ve never been properly schooled in the world of wine outside reading (and watching) Sideways, so I’m often intimidated by wine environments. Thankfully, everyone at the winery was super friendly and laid back, far different from the pretentious stereotype I associate wine with. I left with a bottle of 2006 sauvignon blanc, a 2006 syrah for my parents and a 2006 blackberry wine which is the first fruit wine I’ve had. The blackberry wine was also the gold medal winner at the 2008 All Canadian Wine Championships. Delicious.

After tasting wines, we headed around the back to the marquee tent. Music blared and well over 100 people were already dancing, drinking or happily eating. Since we ran into friends and had a group of eight, we opted to get the value meal for gluttons: 12 lobsters for $110–and that’s including the self-help table of sides: fresh corn on the cob, salad, pasta salad and magnificent potatoes. You can’t beat that price. Without lobster shell crackers, we gnawed our way through the dark orange shells. Lobster doesn’t have to be complex. So naturally sweet, butter isn’t even necessary. It was delightful. With wine in one hand, good friends around the table and the sun setting to the west, it was quite possibly the perfect meal.

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Haloumi cheese sandwich

August 18, 2008

Haloumi is a Meditterranean cheese that is made from goat’s and sheep’s milk. Think of it as a saltier mozzarella. But unlike its Italian counterpart, haloumi loves heat. Its high melting point makes it ideal for grilling or pan-frying. Earlier this week, I topped featured it in a salad. Tonight, I created a haloumi sandwich with some ingredients I had lying around. I ate it with watermelon on the side because I wanted something sweet to offset the cheese’s saltiness.

Ingredients:
2-3 slices of haloumi cheese (rinsed, 1 cm thick)
half tomato sliced
a few leaves of basil
1 lettuce leaves or some mixed greens
1 5-inch long baguette halved lengthwise

Dressing (optional):
1 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
pinch of minced garlic
pinch of dried oregano
pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Mix all the dressing ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat. Place cheese slices on pan and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown.
  3. Place mixed greens or lettuce on bottom half of bread. Add cheese slices and lightly drizzle 1 tablespoon of the dressing. Add basil and tomato.