Monday, May 31, 2010

Jak's Kitchen - Photo Anthology

Jak's Kitchen is located at 479 Bronson Avenue just north of the Queensway on the east side of the road.

Specials posted on blackboard, both inside and out.

Celebrating with 1/2 marathon runner following race in National Capital Race Weekend.

Inside seats about 24. Cozy! Outside patio maybe 12 - 16.

Everyone has a vantage point to see the good work being done in the open kitchen.

Basil Pesto, Mushrooms, Green Onions & Brie Omelette Special with Home Fries, Kitchen Greens and Toasted Molasses-Oat Bread.

Gruyère, Capicoli Ham, Roasted Red Peppers, Caramelized Onions, Omelette with Home Fries, Fresh Fruit, and Toasted Molasses-Oat Bread.

Oven Roasted Tomato, Scallion & Jalapeno Quiche Special with Kitchen Greens.

The Standard - Two Eggs (easy over) with Home Fries, Sausage and Toasted Molasses-Oat Bread.

Great Jamaican spice sauce.

Nice washroom!

Nice washroom art!

I finally got to Jak's Kitchen thanks to Rachelle Eats Food.

The real standouts were the toasted molasses-oat bread, homemade jam and the salad. The bread was addicting with that lovely hint of cinnamon. (They will sell a loaf for $5.) It set so well with the homemade strawberry jam. The salads were really fresh and the dressing just perfect for brunch - not too showy, light, but flavourful. There was also a big rave on the quiche special.

Attentive service and hopping kitchen. They were so busy with the post race crowd. We ate close to 2:00 pm. Our only wish was for less brown on the omelettes and in the rush, the dishes had somehow cooled a bit too much.

Looking forward to returning!

Jak's Kitchen
479 Bronson Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario

Tues - Fri: 8 am to 3 pm

Tues - Sun: 5 pm to close

Sat & Sun: 8:30 am to 3 pm

Jak's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Birthday Breakfast In Bed - It's Tradition

In our home it is tradition to get breakfast in bed on your birthday. Flowers included. Today I enjoyed preparing this tradition for a special someone soon to leave the nest.

Do you have special food traditions around birthdays in your home?

Source: The Canadian Living Cookbook
Servings: 4

These fluffy, light pancakes are easy to make. If batter is slightly too thick, add a little water or milk. To make blueberry pancakes, stir in 1 cup blueberries, mixing with as few strokes as possible or just put them strategically on top of the batter as soon as it is poured onto the pan. I like to use my Starfrit crêpe pan for cooking the pancakes. It has just the right sizzle.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. In separate bowl, beat together eggs, buttermilk and melted butter. Add dry ingredients to liquid, mixing until almost smooth (disregard small lumps).

Heat skillet or griddle over medium heat; brush with oil or unsalted fat. Pour batter onto griddle using about 1/4 cup for each pancake. When underside is brown and bubbles break on topside (after 1 1/2 to 2 minutes), turn over and bake 30 to 60 seconds longer or until second side is golden brown. Serve hot, with butter and maple syrup. Makes 12 pancakes (or 36 small).

Yield: 12 pancakes (or 36 small)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Danish Æbleskiver

One of my kitchen family heirlooms that I really treasure is called an æbleskiver pan. (Pronounced AY-ble-ski-wyr). My pan is made of heavy cast iron, weighing in at 1.2 kg. It has become well-seasoned over its 60 plus years (and two generations) of use.

Æbleskiver (or eblsekiver as it is spelled in North America) are traditional Danish pancakes in the shape of a 2" round ball.

Williams-Sonoma has made æbleskiver wildly popular of late by offering a modern day version of the distinctive pan through their store and website, starting just a few years ago. They sell the well-known Minnesota-based Nordic Ware brand which is made of cast aluminum with a non-stick coating. And sell they do!!

Williams-Sonoma also cleverly make available 2 mixes, a cookbook and specialized sticks for turning the batter at half time.

Other larger sellers such as Amazon and Walmart are now pushing this single purpose pan as well. If I were to buy one today, I would be inclined to purchase Lodge's aebleskiver pan because it too is made of cast-iron.

Æbleskiver is most often served at Christmas time in Denmark and is not considered a breakfast dish. This idea has been popularized in North America. Typically æbleskiver is served with jam or they are lightly dusted with powdered sugar before serving. Or both! This time I used pure Canadian maple syrup to dress up the little balls.

In the past I have also put little treasures, like a dollop of jam into the cooking batter just before I turn them in the pan. Also, fillings could be savoury - pesto, bacon, chopped onion, cheese... It isn't surprising that they are most often served at breakfast now but they do make a nice dessert.

Today the Danish Club of Ottawa met at St. John’s Lutheran Church Hall in New Edinburgh to celebrate 35 years of going strong here in the nation's capital. It seemed fitting to use this family heirloom today to do our part in recognizing this community that is still very rich in tradition.

I never did document the family recipe that was used in our home as I was growing up, so when I came across a recipe in a 1986 Canadian Living magazine, I tucked it away in my collection, hoping to continue the use of this then very obscure pan. It is very similar to the recipe that my mother used.

Source: Canadian Living Wintertime Cooking 1986

Servings: 6

What do you get when you cross a dumpling with a doughnut and a fritter? A little Danish pancake called an æbleskiver which gets its name from the special pan its cooked in. To eat æbleskiver pull them apart, put a little jam in the middle and roll the outside in sugar. If you prefer, fresh fruit can be cooked in the middle of each one. Fingers are the only tools you'll need to enjoy these delicious morsels.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 2/3 cups buttermilk

3 eggs

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla


In food processor or blender, process flour, baking powder, soda, salt, buttermilk, eggs, melted butter and vanilla for about 5 seconds or just until blended, scraping down side of bowl once. Do not over-process.
Heat well-seasoned æbleskiver pan over medium-high heat and grease wells thoroughly with butter or oil. Starting with middle well, fill each three-quarters full of batter. Cook in batches, reducing heat as necessary, until tops are bubbly.

Using small knitting needle or skewer, quickly turn each dumpling over, trying not to pierce too deeply.

Cook until well browned and tester inserted in centre comes out clean.

Serve immediately.
Makes about 36 æbleskiver.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 232 Calories; 9g Fat (36.1% calories from fat); 9g Protein; 28g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 124mg Cholesterol; 634mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Non-Fat Milk; 1 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Are We Equals In The Kitchen?

Why is it that when women are busy in the kitchen it conjures up the image of domesticity?

But when men are making creations in the kitchen, then everyone thinks it's sexy.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 1 of the Ground Cherry Tomato Plant from Vicki's Veggies, Prince Edward County

Today is Day 1 for my Ground Cherry tomato plant. [Sweet, citrus flavoured. 1 - 2 cm fruit with papery husk.]

We have friends that are absolutely faithful about attending Vicki's Veggies Spring Seedling Sale every Victoria Day weekend for heirloom tomato seedling plants. Vicki's Veggies has garnered quite a reputation for her specimens. The farm is located in Prince Edward County near the Black River Cheese Factory.

Lucky for me that our friends' seedling to garden acreage ratio meant that there were leftover plants. So last night I headed over to pick up my new gift for full adoption. Today I carefully selected an open spot in the backyard garden where I anticipated the most sun and then gently transplanted it into rich black soil. Now the rest is up to mother nature. Though, I have been told there is regular grooming required to ensure height, appropriate fullness and a bounty of flowers.

I also added a cage to assist it as it expands, but also to protect it from the elements - rushing children, big dogs (we have neither but they exist at close proximity), rabbits (possibly could work), and general vermin. Anyway, this is the extent of my vegetable garden this year so I was willing to go that extra mile for G8/G20 level security measures. I have actually grown quite attached to the little fellow already. Perhaps he will get a name. Something catchy like Charlie.

If you are interested in picking up seedlings from Vicki's Veggies (family farmed, fresh and chemical free), the heirloom tomato seedling sale runs the weekend of May 29th and 30th as well.

What have you planted in your garden this year?

Smørrebrød - The Danish Open-Faced Sandwich

Well, I found my heat-buster dish for supper last night. It seemed to be the talk of the day in Ottawa. What does one prepare when the humidex is pushing 42ºC? And purely by happenstance I found my answer.

Yesterday I watched Episode #42 of (And now I have absolutely no recollection as to how I ended up there in my Internet surfs.) Chef Katrine Klinken, Danish chef, food writer and educator was on the show to talk about Danish food traditions and she also made a few smørrebrød dishes. For those of you not familiar with the term smørrebrød, it is a Danish word that stands for "butter and bread" and it refers to open-faced sandwiches, a national dish in Denmark. Although there are some very classic combinations of foods for smørrebrød, you are really only limited by your imagination. In fact smørrebrød is a very common dish in other Scandinavian countries and their word for it is quite similar.

And if you want to read more.....Karen Elisabeth Lesney, from Northern California, and of Danish heritage (and cousin of famous Danish chef Claus Meyer!), has a blog called Topless Bread that is dedicated to everything 'smørrebrød'. One of her posts eloquently describes the The Origins of Traditional Smørrebrød.

Regular readers by now know just how much I love to 'move stuff along'. I had at my service, a wee bit of baby spinach, one remaining tomato, and a leftover BBQ'd striploin steak done rare to medium rare. Tucked away in the freezer was my favourite Dimpflmeier Flaxseed Rye Bread.

Rye bread is a typical start to smørrebrød. Being calorie friendly, I skipped the butter. I just covered the bread with a heap of spinach and then weighed it down with a few slices of tomato. Since the steak had been covered in Montreal Steak Spice before grilling, I didn't bother with seasoning for the sandwich since the carpaccio style slices of the rare to medium rare striploin would carry the day. I topped the sandwich with a dressing of well-drained, prepared horseradish that had been mixed with a bit of mayonnaise.

It is worth noting that it is quite customary to eat smørrebrød with a fork and knife. A more sophisticated approach than just picking it up in your hands. And you use the fork and knife to both cut and eat, in the European manner. (Culture Smart! DENMARK: A Quick Guide to Customs and Etiquette says that eating the American style, cutting up your food first and then putting down your knife to eat just with your fork, is considered childish by most Europeans, Danes included. Wow. Bold.)

My particular smørrebrød matches really well with a tall, icy Tuborg pilsner.

SMØRREBRØD [Here just one of many combinations]

Rye Bread
Baby Spinach
Tomato Slices
Roast Beef or Steak

Monday, May 24, 2010

Celebrating Our Royal Neighbours on Queen Victoria's Birthday

On our Victoria Day Monday we had our neighbours into the sanctuary of our cozy backyard for morning coffee and a little bite. We are so blessed to live in a spot of McKellar Park/Westboro that is brimming to overflowing with wonderful street-mates.

There is something refreshing about officially celebrating the fact that the recluse living of winter is behind us and more street sociable days are ahead. We all relish our time outside in the fantastic sun; whether we have dogs to walk, just want to do the post dinner stroll or perhaps stalk the passersby from the vantage point of our front porches.

It was great to hear all the news so far this year and to share in the anticipation of summer holiday plans that are soon coming to fruition. One of my favourite coffee time treats is Danish Puff. It is a recipe I found some 30 years ago. (I know, I know, I really did start baking at a very tender age.) I woke up at the crack of dawn to ensure its freshness and to beat the early heat of the day. The weather was idyllic and the company heavenly. What better way to celebrate a holiday Monday.

Source: Free Press Report on Family June 1980

1 cup sifted all purpose flour
1/2 cup margarine
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup sifted all purpose flour
3 eggs
icing sugar
almond extract
sliced almonds, toasted

Heat oven to 350ºF.

Base: Measure flour into bowl. Cut in butter, sprinkle with water and mix with a fork. Round into a ball and divide in half. Pat dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet with hands. Make two strips 12" - 13" in length and about 3 1/2" wide. Strips should be placed 3" apart. Set aside.

Top: Put butter and water into a saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil. Add almond extract and remove from heat. Stir in flour immediately to keep from lumping. When smooth and thick, add one egg at a time, beating until smooth. Divide in half and spread one half evenly over each piece of pastry.

Bake about 60 minutes until topping is crisp and nicely browned.

Frost with icing and sprinkle generously with toasted sliced almonds.

This is best served the day it is baked.


Sometimes when the heat is high, the appetite is low. A wee snack and drink is just enough to satisfy you on that hot, hot day. Vegetables, dairy, protein, grain, oil. It's all covered. Good luck picking the right drink. Nothing more to be said.


Olive Oil
Ripe Tomatoes
Fresh Basil
Red Onion
Salt and Pepper to taste
Parma Reggiano

Cut baguette into thin slices. Brush lightly with olive oil and toast under the broiler. Oil the other side and also brown. Rub bread with garlic. Dice tomatoes, chiffonade basil, finely dice red onion and mix. Season with salt and pepper. Top each bread slice with a portion of mix. Garnish with finely grated parma reggiano and put under the broiler until the cheese completely melts.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Homemade Ramp and Cheddar Cheese Dinner Rolls

I found a recipe recently called Homemade Pull Apart Dinner Rolls on the blog of Amanda's Cookin'. Having an abundance of ramps from Sunday's picking, now everything at home is getting 'ramped'! The rolls are fast to make with the quick acting yeast. And they were a hit at the dinner table. The Fleur de Sel on top [sparingly!] was just the perfect accent. I will definitely make these again.


1 package quick-acting active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp bulk quick acting yeast)
1 1/3 cup milk (105 to 115ºF degrees)
3 to 3 1/2 cups flour or whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup ramps, bulbs and some greens, chopped and lightly sautéed
1/2 cup grated old cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon melted butter
coarse salt [I used Fleur de Sel and sparingly]

Dissolve yeast in warm milk with sugar in electric mixer bowl. Stir in 1 cup flour, oil, and salt. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour, cooled ramps and cheddar cheese, scraping dough from side of bowl, until soft dough forms. Cover and let rise in warm place until double, about 45 minutes.

Heat oven 400ºF. Punch down dough in center and fold over a few times. Prep a 12 cup muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pinch off 1 inch balls of dough and quickly roll in palm of hands. Put 3 balls to one muffin cup, brush with melted butter; sprinkle with coarse salt.

Bake until crust is light golden brown, about 15 minutes. Immediately remove from pan. Store loosely covered.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Banquet of the Ramp (Wild Leek) - 3rd Annual Rampfest

For those of you who don't know ramps they are wild leeks. Some call them wild garlics. They tend to be of the same season as fiddleheads and morel mushrooms and are found in wooded areas.

Sunday had us up in the depths of beautiful Lanark County at a private gathering of the 3rd Annual Rampfest. The spread was delicious and everything ramps. In addition to the great food, company, weather and view, some keen foragers hit the woods in search of ramps.

I will let the pictures speak for themselves.


Smoked Salmon Terrine with Asparagus & Ramp Pesto served with slices of baguette and also gluten-free crackers.

Pickled Ramps.

Pork Shoulder and Pork Jowl Sausages with Ramps.

Ramp and Morel Risotto in the making.

Ramp and Morel Risotto served with Anise Seared Duck Breast.

Pig-tail Shrimp with a Provencal Style Ramp Sauce.

Louis's Shrimp Dumpling with Spicy Tomato Sauce and Ramp Oil.

Baked Brie with Ramps and Sun-dried Tomatoes.

Chorizo Sausage with Grilled Ramps.



Salmon Poached in White Wine & Ramp Leaves.

Russian Cucumber & Ramp Salad.

German Potato Salad with Ramp Dressing.

Ramp Marinated Beef Tenderloin on a bun with Ramp & Horseradish Mayo. [Plus on the plate is much of the above.]


THE FINISH!!! [No ramps required in these dishes]

Cheese board with Ramp Jelly and Grapes.

Blackstock Fair Award Winning (circa 1978) Apple Pie. [I made the pies!]

Rhubarb and Pistachio Cake.

Pascale's famous ice cream from The Piggy Market. Flavour - French Vanilla. To accompany the Rhubarb and Pistachio Cake.

Carrot Cake.
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