Gigi

Off-site blog content

A Helping of Science With Your Thanksgiving Dinner

Biology. Chemistry. Physics. Its all there on your plate. Take a moment to appreciate it before you dig in.

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Chef Charlotte Langley on her Jill of all trades approach tofood

Since starting Scout Canning chef Charlotte Langley is making a mark on the industry

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How I Lost Weight and Learned to Love Thanksgiving Again

When we moralize about food we remove joy from eating and forget the benefits of moderation.

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Miss summers fresh produce Fall and winter fruits and vegetables deliver too

There are plenty of goodies available during this time of the year

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Casa Lomas BlueBlood offers a dining experience its owners hope tourists Torontonians canenjoy

The new steakhouse at Casa Loma takes full advantage of its extravagant setting and is a bold bid in the fine-dining niche

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Recipe: Leeks vinaigrette with cranberry shallot relish and toasted hazelnuts

A fresh light side dish featuring bright red cranberries

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Gigi's picture
Bio: 

I am one of the admins of the site, a hybrid of geek and foodie.

I grew up with parents who owned a casual restaurant in northern Ontario, which meant I had access to all kinds of kitchen equipment and ingredients that allowed me to experiment from an early age. Notice how that seems more important to me than the corresponding detail that I have been preparing food for people since childhood.

I also started my first business at the age of 9, part of which involved taking care of gardens and being given a portion of the fresh produce in return. That started a life-long love of gardening that is currently gratified by container gardening as I now live in the heart of Toronto.

My reviews are influenced by a number of factors, including the small detail that I am a supertaster (let's hear it for blue tongues!) Did you know supertasters tend to be disproportionately black or Asian and female? Well we are, and I have trained myself to enjoy certain foods despite this mild handicap, buuuuut, I can't quite get over olives and sundried tomatoes. Oh and capers. Putanesca: Just say no.

I pride myself in being able to find something edible at all price points, in most places. Once in a while, however, I misjudge, and that is when apparently, I make the legendary "unsatisfactory dinner face". I try not to do it (anymore), but everyone who has regularly had meals with me claims to know exactly what it is. I tend to believe them because if the waitstaff in the venue is in the least bit attentive, somebody will come over and try to rectify the situation.

I guess all that leads up to the point that I am very specific. I will tell you when dinner is merely "adequate". I like to say that I have never eaten a 1 star meal (I am reserving that for something I hope never to taste) and the 10 stars tend to go to very specific items on a menu as opposed to the whole meal. Unfortunately, it then becomes the benchmark for that item forever, like some platonic form.

For example, I still remember the best caesar salad I have had, even though the place I had it went out of business in the late 80s. I'm not even sure that it hasn't become unattainable now given the way memory works. I have made a few caesar salads that I would give and 8.5 or even 9, but alas, not the 10. But I am going to keep trying!

The 5s.

Since we'll be asking chefs and food experts these questions, I figure I should answer them as well.

Five Ingredients You Can't Live Without:

Everyone we interview says, "salt & pepper" so we've started wording it as: "Other than salt and pepper, what are..." Here are mine.

  • Anchovies
  • Vanilla paste
  • Coconuts (particularly coconut cream)
  • Blue cheese
  • Good olive oil

Favourite Five Kitchen Utensils:

Again, everyone we interview says, "Chef's knives." Everyone. So, we've begun to reword this question, too. I am the kitchen gadget queen, but I am trying to simplify, so if I were starting out all over again and could only have five things other than a good knife, they would be (in no particular order):

  • Mezzaluna
  • Cut-resistant gloves (good for cutting and grating things as well as opening oysters and shellfish)
  • A powerful blender (I will take this even over a food processor)
  • Kitchen shears
  • Well-seasoned cast iron fry pans

I reserve the right to update these lists!

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On Instagram

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These are a few of my favourite salts! It's supposed to get close to freezing tonight, so harvested the last of the tomatoes. Maybe do a couple of small jars of green tomato relish or a mincemeat.nn#heirloomtomatoes #harvest #endoftheseason #eatlocal #gardening #containergardening #fb #regramccby #gigifoodi Kala namak: black salt. Super sulfureous, it really adds quite a different flavour to your foods. It tastes like a salted boiled egg.n.n(I made the mistake of popping one of the rocks into my mouth in public and I really wanted to spit it out -- after about thirty seconds the novelty wore off and I couldn't spit it out because: people. I think this makes 9 distinct salts I have now, not including the flavoured ones.)n.n#nomnomnom #yummy #canadianfoodies #foodblogger #foodpics #foodies #foodie #foodlover #foodporn #foodgram #fb #foodphotography #RegramCCBY #ingredients #salt #mixitup #gigifood Added some syrups to the preserves cupboard: Ginger and mint, plus made some plum sauce. Next time, though, I think I will take the skins off so it's the classic golden colour people expect.nn#homecook #cheflife #cook #cooking #kitchen #cookstagram #kitchenlife #eatlocal  #preserves #canning #gigifood #gigifoodie #hotstuff #fireface #fb #yummy Oh garden, how I am going to miss you...nInsalata Caprese with fresh-off-the-vine tomato and newly-picked basil.nn#gardening #containergardening #harvest #heirloomtomatoes #dinnerideas #fb #gigifoodie #gigifood Harvest gets thinner as we get closer to November, but at least it's still happening!nn#harvest #autumn #gardening #containergardening #containergarden #gigifoodie #fb That doesn't look like a completely insane amount of flour for making pasta dough, does it? Somehow, after adding 4 eggs it started to turn into The Blob and I had to freeze 2/3 of it. Yeesh.nn#dinnerideas #nomnomnom #homecook #cheflife #cook #cooking #kitchen #cookstagram #kitchenlife #eatlocal #fb #regramCCBY #gigifoodi I just liked the combo of purple peppers and orange chair.nn#harvest #eatlocal #fb #regramccby #gigifoodie #gigifood #contain One day I will develop the sense enough to start canning before 11pm. Damson plum, concord grape, and golden grape - syrup, jams, and jellies.nn#fallingasleepatwork #jams #jellies #preserves #eatlocal #harvest #gigifood #gigifoodie #fb Eggplant parmesan with #gluten-free fusili  from @bioitalia -- worked out to be a super delicious combo, if I may say so myself.nn#harvest #organic #eggplant #gardening #containergarden #gigifoodie #gigifood #dinnerideas #fb 3 batches of jam on the go! Grape and plum... #sugarcoma #autumn #canningseason #preserves #jams #jellies #imadethis #gigifood #gigifoodie #fb Making another batch of jams and jellies today. This time: concord and golden grapes, plus Damson plums. Testing out using the rice cooker to make the golden grapes (smaller amount); the other two are going in the pressure cooker.nn#harvest #preserves #canning #canningseason #autumn #kitchenlife #fb #regramCCBY #gigifood

My posts

Kind things to say about crappy products

Surprised smileys

Unfortunately, reviewing isn’t always done from the comfort of a dark corner of a restaurant. Need ideas for what can you say when put on the spot at shows and events? (Humour)

Simple Onion Soup Gratinee

Onion soup pre-grantinee
Impress your Valentine with this relatively quick and simple french onion soup recipe for 2! Much of the flavour relies on your caramelization technique, so be prepared to take it slow...

Jinya (Toronto)

Reviewer rating: 
7
Sprouting Up Ramen dish at Jinya Toronto
Casual ramen (Japanese noodle soup) place with finger foods (Japas)

Jinya is a funky little restaurant with a slick decor and

CHFA Expo East 2016

chfa logo

Canada’s largest conference and trade show for the natural health and organics industry. Meet the industry’s top manufacturers, distributors and brokers, face-to-face...