Easter Brunch at Bleecker

Assorted Eggs

Barry St. Denis,  aided and abetted by hubby hostess Simon, cooked up a fine Easter brunch of pancakes, sausages and bacon as well as eggs on demand.  Other members of the coop contributed their specialty dishes.  Barb presented her homemade matzo ball soup to remind us it wasn’t just Easter to be celebrated.  Tom made the hash browns and muffins.  Miriam prepared a mashed potato quiche.  There were fruit salads, mini quiches, carrot cake, a Polish Babka (grandma) cake from Adam, a bunny shaped cake crafted by Lee and freshly baked scones by Bonnie.  Rumour has it there was also a baked salmon, by Brian, may it rest in peace.  It disappeared so fast that neither the cook nor this guest even saw it much less tasted it.
There were many bottles of fizzy wine being popped, at least 4 to my ear, and lots of jugs of o.j. to make mimosas.
These events are always very fluid affairs [pun intended] so the head count, while not exact, was around 30 persons.
Assorted Eggs

March and our Spring Café

Spring Garden Bed

On Friday 31 March we celebrated the cold wet arrival of Spring with our monthly Café.

Michael made a huge cheesy mac ‘n’ cheese with a golden crust of cheese and crumbs.  That was accompanied by by his new “go to ” salad of curly Kale with a dash of spinach, watermelon radishes, yellow beets, and sauteed fennel bulb slices.

For dessert we had (alas, not homemade) frozen Cappuccino Yoghurt with S’mores cookies.

After lunch several people headed off to the Carlton Cinema to see “Hidden Figures”.

Spring Garden Bed

A Casual Afternoon Tea

On Tuesday 24 January we gathered in the Community Room for our first Café of the New Year.  This month the theme was a casual Afternoon Tea.  A time to reconnect with friends and neighbours.  

Chef Michael and I prepared egg salad sandwiches, tuna salad sandwiches with carrot and radish, salmon salad sandwiches with dill and cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches.  That’s four loaves of buttering right there. There was a tossed salad, freshly baked scones along with beverages of your choice including tea.  Dessert was another of Michael’s delicious homemade ice creams:  butter pecan served with a ginger snap.

I believe a pleasant time was enjoyed by all.

 

Warming Chili on a chilly day.

Fall Leaves

Yesterday, Wednesday, was our last Café of 2016.  With 30+ guests it was our best attended this year.  Of course there had to be a hitch.  There was trouble with the electrical wiring in the kitchen so some of our prep along with our servery counter on wheels had to be moved to Thien’s workroom, the maintenance room — there’s a stove in there.
We served up bowls of warm rich Michael-made chili, both meaty and vegetarian, accompanied by dollops of sour cream and grated cheddar…(and I have the knuckles to prove it!)…along with our staples of the ever popular french stick and sweet butter.  Miriam donated a homemade Sauerkraut condiment to the offering.
Michael’s chocolate cupcakes were our dessert.
We were entertained by a local comedian, Holly Wyder, who was joined by comedic musical acts that perform at her monthly Acoustic Comedy shows.

We look forward to seeing you and serving you in 2017.

 

Fall Leaves

Chicken Stew and Biscuits: Comfort Food Café

Heirloom

Thursday, with it’s unpredictable weather and blustering winds, called for a Comfort Food Café.
Michael made a hearty chicken stew which was served over mashed potatoes and accompanied by freshly baked cheddar cheese tea biscuits or scones.  As I made them I prefer ‘tea biscuits’ tho’ there were no eggs..  [See discussion below.]
Spice cake was served for dessert with peach chutney and topped with a dollop of whipped cream.
Eighteen people gathered in the DFC community room for our monthly café where we ate well, enjoyed catching up and where  we were entertained by Mo Guzman, guitarist:
of
http://www.goldenboymusic.org/
Image result for mashed potatoesInline imageImage result for cheese scones  Image result for spice cake with whipped cream
A special thanks goes out to Emilie Landry, avec notre appréciation, for her assistance with the prep the night before and for taking charge of the thankless task of the cleanup after.
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Two other opinions on scones/biscuits:
Biscuits should be light—airy even—with well-defined flaky layers. Tender, yes, but sturdy enough to support or be dragged through gravy, a runny egg yolk, or a generous serving of maple syrup. A scone should not flake like a biscuit. It can have layers of course, but they should err on the side of crumbly. A scone is slightly dryer than a biscuit and yet, when done well, not dry at all. Scones are intended to be consumed with a hot beverage of your choice after all. And clotted cream, or butter, or jam. Or all three.
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So, what’s the difference between a scone and a biscuit? The answer generally boils down to one ingredient: eggs. Scones have them, biscuits don’t.
Other than that, the ingredients and process are pretty much the same. Both scones and biscuits are usually made with some combination of flour, baking powder or baking soda (or a combination of both), salt, sugar, milk or buttermilk, eggs (if you’re making scones) and a fat (butter, Crisco, lard). The dry ingredients are mixed together, the fat is “cut in” with a pastry cutter, two knives or your fingers, and the liquid is added until the dough just comes together. The dough is gently kneaded very briefly then cut into circles or triangles and baked.

 

All Abuzz about a Honey of Workshop

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Last night our professional bee keepers
 brought down 2 frames from our roof top apiary accommodation to the community room for us to work on.
We set about taking turns at de-capping the combs:  that is lifting off the top portion of the cells to allow the honey to be spun out.  It is a delicate job.  We used an uncapping fork with small teeth.  (In the larger industry they might use a hot knife.)  You don’t want to dig too deep.  The comb underneath should be kept intact, as much as possible.  It will be returned to the hive where our busy little worker bees will tidy it up and refill it, rather than having to build whole new combs on the frame.  This saves time and energy for our hive.
 
Once de-cap-itated the frames were moved to the extractor and we each had our turn at working the crank handle and spinning the honey free of the wax comb.  Centrifugal force caused it to run down the sides of the extractor where it was filtered to catch errant pieces of wax.  Each frame had to be spun twice to remove all the golden goodness from both sides.  Two frames roughly 1 ft X 2.5 ft each produced a surprising amount of honey, possibly, forgiving my metric math, 2 kg or 4 lbs +/-.  
It was filtered again before each individual small bottle (maybe 4 oz?) was filled from a spout and capped for future enjoyment.  Each hive produces a unique flavour of honey.  There are the standard flavours, of course, clover and buckwheat.  But here we seem to have a unique Cabbagetown flavour.  Our 8th floor rooftop hive had definite hints of pepper!  David, with the small ground level hive used for our demos, reports mint overtones to his honey.
I’m not sure what they do with the wax from the de-cap-itating but I gathered a good measure in a plastic glass.  This morning I found a lovely little puddle of even more honey in the bottom of the glass.  Someone recommended adding the comb wax to hot cereals like oatmeal.  Those bees work so hard making the stuff there have to be microscopic nutrients in there.
We have 10 more frames to harvest, which the professionals, Alvéole will do for us. 
Ryan and Alvéole estimate that we may see 13 kg of honey from our hive.  That’s 28 lbs.
The honey will be sold in the Bleecker lobby later this fall.  Ryan thought we could put the funds towards installing another hive in the courtyard!
Now that is one sweet plan to get buzzed about.

 

July’s Bleecker Café

 
 It was just too hot in our Courtyard today for an outdoor café so 16 of us gathered in our cool community room to enjoy Chef Michael’s barbequed chicken.
We tossed a huge Caesar Salad with homemade dressing, Parmesan and croutons.  
 
Three cheeses:  Fontina, aged Cheddar, and, my personal favourite, Gruyere were melted into a gooey sauce with butter and cream, tossed with macaroni and baked with a toasty crust of breadcrumbs for a superb mac’n’cheese.
For a light refreshing dessert we had Watermelon Sorbet, oh! so yummy, served with chewy chocolate coin cookies.
Good food.  Good conversation.  Good neighbours.
Recipe for a pleasant afternoon.
                                                             

Frankling Pride Party

Image result for gay pride graphicsImage result for gay pride graphics

Saturday night Diane Frankling Co-op, 85 Bleecker St., celebrated our Pride with a huge party in the courtyard.

True to form Chef Michael cooked up a storm. We had burgers and Toulouse sausages from the barbeque, another version of his famous Nappa salad, yummy Orzo pasta salad tossed with pesto and asparagus, and 3 bowls of potato salad that kept disappearing it was so good.

For desert he served a selection of homemade ice creams and a killer lemon sorbet made with Prosecco, a sparkling white Italian wine. The ice creams included strawberry, chocolate, peanut butter, cinnamon, and caramel served up in cones or cups which brought out the Kidult in all of us! They were adorned with a chocolate crescent sugar cookie.

The bar which was well and enthusiastically covered by volunteers encouraged and accepted generous donations for Pete’s Pet Fund. They served up the traditional libations of beer and wine as well as a heady Pineapple Berry Fruit Punch that got the party started.

Music was provided by Side B Vibe.

Many thanks are due to ALL the volunteers who made the evening a success. Food decorating serving. Talk about Helping Hands!!

Eva Sin

Kayenne Sin-Liu

Noel Liu

Kim Adlard

Miriam Veerhar

Alanah Holmes

Richard Dean

Claude Houde

Tom Williamson

Harish Jayadharan

Alex Conchie

Barry St. Denis

Rebecca Dewitt

Dinah Draper

Eric Parker

Peter Harris

Jamie Aguilar

Asif Kamal

Ryan Neepin

Glen Jennings

Shawn Kirkup

Carole Esprit

Bunny Munn

Emilie Landry

Catherine Jones

Richard Teixeira

Our Social Director Ryan Hayward oversaw the festivities with his usual calm diplomacy.

Image result for gay pride graphicsImage result for gay pride graphics

Café in the Sky

HughGarner-Rooftop-Garden-Cabbagetown  A corner of Hugh Garners’ Rooftop Garden.

Congratulations to Ryan for arranging to have our neighbour Hugh Garner Co-op host our June Café on their spectacular roof garden to celebrate Seniors’ Month. Twenty members from Diane Frankling and ten Hugh Garner members gathered in their 9th floor community room for lunch.

A veritable picnic BBQ in the sky!
Michael created a cold tomato concasse soup which we served with barbequed burgers, with suitable hamburger fixings, potato salad, sweet rice vinegared Daikon Radish and Carrot Crunch salad. Hugh Garner provided the desserts: irresistible Strawberry Shortcakes and rich Brownies as well as fruit, cheese and crackers.

Concasse, from the French concasser, “to crush or grind”, is a cooking term meaning to rough chop any ingredient, usually vegetables. This term is particularly applied to tomatoes, where tomato concasse is a tomato that has been peeled, seeded (seeds and skins removed), and chopped.

The Rock-a-Doodle Duo, plus one, entertained us with upbeat musical stylings out under their gazebo.

The rooftop garden features planters that are for the most part hip high for easy tending, a panoramic view of Cabbagetown including a wonderful bird’s eye view of our co-op and a dry river bed running down the centre with a giant startled frog caught mid leap.

 

May Café

Carnaby

Work on the Café foodstuffs starts the evening before and picks up again in the morning.  Anything we can do the night before is one less thing to do on Tuesday.  The chicken was marinated overnight with garlic, ginger, lemon juice and lemon thyme in olive oil.  The little red potatoes were washed and halved waiting in an icy bath in the fridge.
The potatoes were meticulously dried and tossed with olive oil seasoned with minced rosemary.  The marinated chicken was baked.  With them we served a salad of sauteed Nappa cabbage with ginger, garlic and sweet onion.  Match stick red pepper was added for crunch, finely grated carrots for colour and some chopped scallions were tossed in at the end.
Desert was a delight as usual:  Chef Michael’s homemade Rhubarb ice cream topped with a strawberry.
Our speaker of the day was a presentation artist who encouraged the telling of our stories at Bleecker in hopes, no doubt, of stirring up the residents to contribute to the 25 year anniversary book.

 

Our next Café, Friday 17th June, will be a shared endeavour on the rooftop garden of the Hugh Garner Co-Op to the north of us.  We will be celebrating Seniors’ Month.

Carnaby