Thursday, 3 May 2012

Dining With Slumlord: Coastal @ Night

Welcome to our first edition of SLUMJAM: Dining with Slumlord. This is where the food blog gets a little more bloggy. We are not reviewing or critiquing stuff- merely sharing our love of local dining, local friends, punk rock friends and local punks. And foodie punks- so many foodie punks!

 So Tasha and I were at a party a few weeks ago (hard to picture, but try), discussing our after-jam dinner plans for the following evening, when a little bird told us to check out Coastal @ Night. It's a funky dinner service operating out of the Coastal Cafe from Thursday to Sunday every week- run by Graeme Ruppel (formerly the chef at the delicious Brooklyn Warehouse) and Chef Tito (formerly the drummer for The Total Bastards). Each week they offer a different five course, prix fixe menu going for about fifty bucks and featuring an unexpected theme. Wine and beer pairings are also available. The night we chose to pop in, the boys were serving up an interesting theme indeed: in honor of April 20th- aka: 4:20- Coastal @ Night was featuring their take on "The Munchies." How could we say no?

we couldn't.

 Joined by our friend Jim Doherty, we set out to eat everything. As we were seated, I noticed how lovely the cafe was in the evening candle light. I'd only ever been to the Coastal for brunch in the bright and cheery sunlight, but it's an equally fantastic space @ night.

The three of us went with the set menu, although a tempting a la carte menu was also available. First munchie course: Bacon. Braised pork belly, parsnip puree and sweet, sweet roasted apples.

Next up was the potato chip course: a rich, crispy potato gratin with smoked onion creme fraiche. It was the ultimate ode to chip n' dip!

The next course was (almost) my favorite: Nachos. Welsh cheddar polenta with a sharp salsa verde, lime, grapefruit and plenty of cilantro. We all agreed, the flavors worked so well together but we never would have thought to combine grapefruit and polenta. NEVER! Perhaps it's telling that we didn't take any pictures of this dish. I must have been too busy tending to the party in my mouth.

Time for the main course:  C@N's take on that big kahuna of munchies, the Donair. Spiced pork roast, duck fat pita, garlic tzatziki sauce and pickled turnip. So glad they included the pickled turnip! I'm definitely a 'lift' girl.

Although Tasha and I were stuffed after all that goodness and decided to take our brownies home to eat later in bed, we watched with hedonism as Jim slowly destroyed his, muttering softly to himself. Later in my PJ's, I was able to understand his bliss. Never have I tasted such a brownie. It stole the entire show in my opinion: melt in your mouth brownie that was really more like a dark, decadent and smooth chocolate ganache. Salty, smoky chunks of caramel that were surely choice pieces from God's personal Crunchie bar. All topped with a peanut butter mousse, encapsulated by a firm milk chocolate  shell. Thank you Coastal @ Night. I am forever grateful for the best bedside brownie of my life- and I've had my share.

So please, if you crave bang for your buck, and epic, unexpected flavor combinations served up in a beautifully intimate setting for you and your favorite bass player, visit the Coastal @ Night. Those boys are dead serious about playing with their food- with dramatic results. I hear this week they're boasting a 'Cinco de Mayo' inspired menu! Their facebook page (complete with up-to-date menus) can be found here.

Lastly, I'd like to give a special mention to that insane fried chicken and waffles dish (complete with maple syrup and apple butter) that I ordered from C@N's a la carte & brought home for TJ. Even though I was full, I still picked at it when he wasn't looking. Sorry buddy.


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Casserole Chaos

Last month, we played a fabulous birthday show for our good friend Adam Kindred- but only after hosting a pre-show potluck with our favorite vixens: VIXENS. 

I'm one of those lucky women you may remember hearing about around the water cooler. About once a month, I have the uncanny ability to run into Vixen Josie Stevens at the Scotia Square Dollarama. Every time we get together we tend to talk casseroles, so we finally decided to get together and just make one already! We were joined by the lovely Bridget Robins and Rosie Davis (also of Vixens fame), as well as my good friend TJ. We decided to create a vegetarian version of a "pasta pie" recipe I stumbled across, courtesy of the fine folks at Noble Pig.

Casserole-play (Now with Mushrooms!)

1 1/2 lbs dry Rigatoni
1 can crushed tomatoes
5-6 large portabellas or other firm mushroom, diced small
2 cloves minced garlic
1 thinly sliced plum tomato
1 large onion, chopped finely
2 Tbsp dry oregano
splash olive oil
splash red wine
2 Bay leaves
1 cup extra old cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan

Cook the Rigatoni noodles in boiling salted water until just under done- you'll want them to be slightly firm so they can stand up. Strain, run under cold water for a few moments to shock, then set aside.
Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium high in a large sauce pot. Add onions, and stir until they begin to brown and caramelize. Then add in the oregano, garlic and mushrooms and saute for a few minutes on high. Add a healthy splash of red wine (about 1/2 cup) like you are throwing it into an unfaithful lover's face. Give the pot a sensual gaze of contempt, then add the can of crushed tomatoes and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, stirring carefully- it will sputter as it heats- then reduce heat to a medium low setting and cover the pot partially. Allow to simmer for approximately 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally and taking care to ensure that thick sauce isn't burning to the bottom of the pot.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in some salt, pepper, and parm to taste, then allow it to cool while we move on to the next step: Noodle Stuffing. Rosie's favorite.

Grease a large cake pan. Tightly pack the pasta into the pan, standing each piece on end. With a smaller pan, you might be able to accomplish this on your own, but the size we went for was definitely a 2 person job. Fill each noodle with sauce, pushing it right into the holes if necessary. Top with the old cheddar, tomato slices and a little oregano. Pop it into the oven, and get your mind out of the gutter.

Bake that mother for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly n' brown and the entire dish is burning hot! Wait 5 minutes for it to set a little before digging in, though- it will hold it's shape a little better on a plate.


We ate like queens, and it tasted all the more magnificent because we worked as a team! Oh yeah, there were probably some kings and peasants there too. We owe the Vixens for a good time (and a killer set)! You can find their music here. And thanks to all the other bands that came out, it got pretty large and loud at Gus' that night: Mean Mug, Negative Circles, IDon'tGiveARips and Concrete Asylum.

TJ did everything!

Special thanks to everyone who contributed to my pot luck too- success tastes like curry and wine.


Saturday, 24 March 2012

"Stuffed" Chicken Dinner With Slumlord.

It's not Christmas, and let's be real, nobody wants it to be. Remember how relieved you were when it was over? Relieved and fat, from delicious feasts! A few times a year I get a strong craving for a roast bird of some kind and all the fixins, so I dust off my old recipe cards and get to work. Isaac Hansen was here to cheer me on and eat everything- also to take these stunning photos. The stuffing is an old family recipe and- I can't stress this enough- raisins need to be a part of it. We also roasted chicken, and I halved it to save time and to use the neck, back and giblets for gravy. As a result, I baked the stuffing in a casserole dish... more stuffing this way too!


6 cups diced bread without crust
3 sticks butter
2 coarsely chopped onions
5 chopped celery stalks
1 lb raisins
1/4 t thyme
1/2 T basil
1/4 t sage
1/2 cup parsley
salt and pepper
one peeled and grated apple

Scatter bread cubes on a cookie sheet and dry at 170 degrees for 1- 1 1/2 hours until crisp. Allow to cool and heat the butter in a pan, then add the onion and celery and saute for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and combine with the dried bread and all other ingredients. Mix well, then dump into a casserole dish and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake along with your chicken.

Roast Turkey or Chicken with Gravy

An average-sized bird, halved, with the neck, back and/or giblets
1 each onion, carrot and celery stalk chopped
summer savoury
2 bay leaves
coarse salt and pepper
white wine
olive oil
4 T flour

Preheat oven to 325. Rub the chicken halves all over with the oil, lay breast-up on a rack in a roasting pan and sprinkle with the summer savoury, parsley, salt and pepper. Add a little white wine to the bottom of the roasting pan. Cover with foil or lid and bake 15 minutes per lb or until the roast reaches an internal temperature of 185. Uncover for the final 15-20 minutes to brown the skin, basting it in it's own juices 2 or 3 times. Meanwhile...

After popping everything in the oven, combine the neck, back, etc with carrot, bay leaves, onion, celery, about a cup of white wine and just enough water to cover in a large pot. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to medium on the stove. Simmer uncovered for about and hour. Strain and cool the stock, spooning off as much of the fat that rises to the top as possible.

Once everything is out of the oven, allow the bird to rest, covered, while you finish the gravy.  Heat 4 Tablespoons of reserved fat from the roasting pan in a medium pot, and stir in the flour. Cook for a few moments, stirring constantly. Pour in the strained, skimmed stock and allow to come to a boil, whisking often until it thickens. Taste and season to your liking, or preferably mine.

Now... EAT. I guess you should probably have some veggies too.

And don't forget to come out to Gus' Pub this Friday, March 30 to celebrate Adam Kindred's birthday. It's gonna be a time with 6 bands, including Vixens, Mean Mug, Negative Circles, Concrete Asylum, Idontgivarips and yours truly.

love, Slumlord

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Asparagus Risotto with Slumlord.

Valentine's day is a romantic time to spend with your loved ones, together, as a mopey mass of drunks at Gus' Pub. I- for one- am glad we participated in the Hind Legs video release show last month on a full stomach. This is the sensual tale of how I seduced my band members and Ryan Smith with my very favorite: creamy, lemony asparagus risotto. Don't think we could have picked a more appetizing name for this dish...

Asparagus' Pub Risotto

1 cup of cheap white wine
4 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups dry aborio rice
1 small onion small diced
1 lemon zest and a little juice
lots of fresh grated parm
6-7 stalks trimmed, chopped asparagus
olive and canola oil- about 3 TB total

Warm the chicken stock to a simmer in a small pot. Heat the oil to medium- high in a large pot or frying pan, then saute the onion until golden brown. Add the rice and stir constantly to toast for about 3 minutes. Add the wine and lower the heat, allowing the rice to slowly absorb the liquid. Stir often, but not necessarily non-stop from this point on. Just enough to make sure the bottom isn't sticking and the rice is cooking evenly in general. Don't forget about it in a drunken rage! Add the warm stock a little at a time and the rice will gradually absorb it bit by bit. I didn't do that at all by the way, as I was impatient and added cold stock about a cup at a time (still waiting until most of the liquid had been absorbed before adding more) while I forced Tasha to stir. I'm a monster, and although our risotto turned out delicious, yours will be much better for having followed the official risotto rules.

Once you have just a quarter or so of your stock left, add the asparagus. Continue to incorporate all the stock, once the rice is creamy and only slightly crunchy to the taste, it's done. Remove from heat and dump a few handfuls of parm in, stirring until melted. Save some tasty parm to garnish each bowl of risotto. Add the zest and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to your tastes. Proceed to have sex with whoever you made this for.

Thanks to the Vixens, Hind Legs, The Cannisters, Special Costello and all of my special Valentines. Next Slumjam we get freaky and make Christmas dinner for no reason.


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Pizza Party with Slumlord.

It is my duty to inform you that the Slumlord jam palace on Artz Street is no more- the party was finally busted up by various noise complaints after more than a year of cooking, drinking gin and occasionally playing music in my apartment. Although we were threatened with a fine, the police were pretty cordial and even admitted to grooving on the groovy beats. Perhaps we'll see some boys in blue at Gus' Pub this Valentines day, for some Slumlord, Hind Legs, Cannisters, Special Costello and Vixens? How romantic. Ladies, cover your drinks!

The party may be over inside my home, but never inside my heart. And also in Fairview, at the stately Church of Destruction where we will rent a jam space from now on. The cooking will continue in my kitchen of course, from now until the end of time!! Anyway... pizza.

We all know the party just can't stop when you have pizza on your side! I got a pizza stone for Christmas and was itching to try it out. Add my newly-discovered love of baking into the mix and I MUST MAKE PIZZA.

Tomato Sauce

one 796 ml can of whole tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
tablespoon sugar
teaspoon each salt and freshly cracked pepper
healthy dose of olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
Tablespoon dry Oregano
Bay leaf

Heat the olive oil in a medium sized sauce pan until near-smoking, then add your onion and caramelize until golden brown. Add the garlic, crushed, and the oregano, sautéing for a few minutes. Pour in the can of tomatoes, along with the sugar, bayleaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and allow to simmer about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Puree with a hand-blender or food processor, or just smash everything up somehow. Cool sauce before adding to a pizza. 

Dough of the Rising Crust

1.5 cups All Purpose flour, half a cup Whole Wheat flour
1 Package instant dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Dissolve the yeast with the sugar and water in a medium mixing bowl. We were pretty worried our yeast was a dud because it was here when I moved in, but 15 minutes later it was bubblin crude. Next, add the salt to the flour and mix it bit by bit into the yeasty water, stirring with a spoon first to create a paste, then switching to your hands. Combine until the dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl, then transfer it to a lightly floured counter. Knead the dough with all your strength for about 10 minutes, then form it into a ball and place it in an olive-oil greased mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with a cloth and allow the dough to rise for 45 minutes to an hour in a warm place- we actually set our oven super low and placed it inside. Once the dough has risen about twice in size, and an obnoxious indentation remains if you poke it with (your finger), it's ready to go. Smash it with your fist to release the air, then either push it out flat onto a pizza stone or greased baking sheet, or roll out with a rolling pin. Don't forget to pinch those edges up for a poofy crust.

Pour sauce on at your discretion and spread all over evenly. I'm not about the cross any personal boundaries and tell you what to put on your pizza. We put thinly sliced green peppers, Calabrese, mozza and greek seasoning because I'm freaky like that. It was spicy and delicious, and I wish I could've shared it with the world! Oh wait, I am.      

This dish seemed appropriate to feature as we are about to debut a spicy Italian meatball of a song: Ain't Got Time To Die, a tribute to local chef Maurizio Bertossi. Thanks for showing us how to make a bitchin' sauce! Until next time, when we show you how to make toast with an amplifier.


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