Get fresh this spring with rhubarb and asparagus
Text by Zestycook Cory Gallant
Spring has sprung…or has it? Well, let’s pretend it has anyway. What does spring mean to you? Naturally, I gravitate towards food. Don’t get me wrong – it’s great to see the flowers starting to bloom, the grass getting greener, and the birds chirping. It’s just that for me, spring is all about trying recipes with what’s fresh and in season. Here are some tasty ways to use that rhubarb that’s been growing in your garden, as well as a simple and delicious recipe for asparagus. Enjoy!
Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins
Easy to make, these muffins are a must-try this season! Focus on the tartness of the rhubarb paired with the sweetness of the strawberries. The topping is one of my favourite additions!
1 large piece of rhubarb, sliced lengthwise and diced (about 3/4 cup – 1 cup)
1 cup of chopped fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon of flour (to coat the strawberries)
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 cup of whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
1/2 teaspoons of salt
1/4 cup of butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
3/4 cup of sugar
1 cup of low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
Brown sugar for topping
Sliced almonds for topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C). Slice and dice the rhubarb, chop up the strawberries, and toss with 1 tablespoon of flour (this will absorb the access liquid and prevent soggy muffins). Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. In separate bowl, cream butter, oil, and sugar until smooth. Add in the egg, sour cream or yogurt, and almond extract to the butter mixture and blend well. Gradually beat in dry ingredients until combined. Gently stir in fruit. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and fill with 1/ 4 cups of batter per each liner. Lightly press in some sliced almonds (they add a perfect look and crunch). Sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake for 16-20 minutes, until tops are golden and toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.
Classic Rhubarb Pie
Simple yet elegant, pair this delicious dessert with a dollop of your favourite ice cream or frozen yogurt for a match made in heaven. The tartness from the rhubarb and the buttery flakiness of the crust will have you coming back for seconds and thirds. Toss the scales out and just eat!
2 – 4 tablespoons of ice water
2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
4 ounces (1 stick) of cold unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
Egg wash of 1 yolk whisked with 1 tablespoon of water
4 cups of chopped rhubarb
1 1/3 cups of white sugar
6 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon of butter
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Sift together the flour, sugar, and salt; sift again. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add ice water a tablespoon at a time (approximately 3 tablespoons in all), stirring the dough around the bowl with a fork. As soon as it is moist enough to gather into a ball, wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Handle the dough as little as possible. Roll half of the pastry dough out on a floured surface to about 1/8-inch thickness. The pastry should be about 1 1/2 inches larger than the pie plate. Combine sugar and flour. Sprinkle 1/4 of it over pastry in pie plate. Heap rhubarb over this mixture. Sprinkle with remaining sugar and flour. Dot with small pieces of butter. Cover with top crust. Sprinkle top crust with sugar. Place pie on lowest rack in oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and continue baking for 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm or cold.
Grilled Asparagus with a Hint of Citrus
Asparagus is a great vegetable that can be prepared a few different ways. I have to say that grilled, roasted or steamed would be my top three ways of preparing it. Asparagus can be dressed up and dressed down and works with a variety of flavours. For this recipe, I kept it simple by grilling it with orange vinaigrette.
1 bunch of asparagus
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Salt and pepper
Zest and juice of 1 orange
2 cloves of garlic
Preheat grill to medium high heat. Toss asparagus in olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill until char marks appear and rotate until asparagus is done. While hot, hit it with orange zest, garlic and juice. Toss in a bowl and serve.
Enjoy all that spring has to offer and I’ll see you next month for more banter and sharing food ideas!
Get fresh this spring with rhubarb and asparagus Text by Zestycook Cory Gallant Spring has sprung…or has it? Well, let’s pretend it has anyway. What does spring mean to you? Naturally, I gravitate towards food. Don’t get me wrong – it’s great to see the flowers starting to bloom, the grass getting greener, and the […]
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Text by Meredith Morrison
Need a refill? Marc’s Studio bartender Sam Murphy (a.k.a. Sam the Bartender) is just a text away. Photo credit: Sunstone Creations.
If you see bartender Sam Murphy checking his iPhone behind the bar, he’s not being rude, he’s just doing his job…in a not-so-traditional way.
“Text the Bartender” is new service offered during special live performances exclusively at Marc’s Studio on Sydney Street where patrons can essentially order, pay for, and have their drinks delivered to the table without ever leaving their seat. No waiting until intermission or climbing over people to get to the bar to get a drink – at Marc’s Studio, all you have to do is text Sam and he’ll take it from there.
“We (Daniel Brenan Brickhouse General Manager, Kelli Gillis, and myself) just kind of came up with the idea,” says Murphy. “When we did our first show with Dennis Ellsworth of Haunted Hearts back in November, it was a packed house. It was a great show but we noticed while he was playing, I didn’t serve one drink. It was kind of good for me because I got to watch the whole time, but Kelli and I talked and we really needed to figure out a way to get drinks to people during the show. I’m going around picking up glasses anyway, so I was like, I might as well be able to drop drinks off too, right? We both had new iPhones for work so we decided we were going to try to do this.”
They decided to introduce the texting drink service last December during a special live performance with John Connolly and Liam Corcoran. “A few people were a little hesitant towards it, especially a few of the older crowd, you know, they were kind of scared of it,” says Murphy. “I had to explain it to people the first time, but they caught on to it. Everyone who used it really loved it because they didn’t have to get up. That night, we increased our sales $500 from our first show. It was an eye-opener – we were going to do this every time now.”
Here’s how it works: After handing the doorman your ticket or paying for one at the door, you’ll go and see Sam at the bar to start a tab. He’ll ask for your credit card and give you one of his customized “Sam the Bartender” cards with his cell phone number printed on it. At any point throughout the three-hour show, you can text him your drink order and your name as it appears on your credit card and he’ll deliver your drink right to you. At the end of the night, he’ll give you your receipt and what you do after that, well, that’s up to you.
“It’s a way you can enjoy the show, sip your drink, and you don’t even have to get up from your seat,” says Vanessa Smith, Marketing Manager for Murphy Group of Restaurants. “You don’t have to feel like you’re interrupting the performer or making a big scene.”
While the fun drink texting feature has definitely caught on, it has earned Murphy a few more texts than he was prepared for. “People can have their fun with it and I have fun with it, too,” he says. “That first night, I was getting text messages at 4:00 a.m. saying ‘Get me another drink’ when I was trying to get to sleep. It’s worked out really well, though. I’ve noticed in the last two or three shows that people already have my number in their phone as “Sam the Bartender.” I try to give them my card and they’re like, ‘No, we’ve got your number.’”
Drinks just a text away? This idea gets two working thumbs up.
Text by Meredith Morrison If you see bartender Sam Murphy checking his iPhone behind the bar, he’s not being rude, he’s just doing his job…in a not-so-traditional way. “Text the Bartender” is new service offered during special live performances exclusively at Marc’s Studio on Sydney Street where patrons can essentially order, pay for, and have […]
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When it comes to project work, Candace Woodside is the main event
Text by Meredith Morrison
Photography by Alanna Jankov
Candace Woodside is in for the ride of her life on June 3 when she takes part in the Becel Heart & Stroke Ride for Heart PEI cycling event.
“This is awesome!” yells Candace Woodside, flashing a smile back at photographer Alanna Jankov and myself as she pedals down the pathway. The three of us are spending a Friday afternoon together for a photo shoot at Victoria Park, the starting point of the upcoming Becel Heart & Stroke Ride for Heart PEI cycling event happening June 3, an event Woodside is not only working on but will also be participating in. She’s openly admitted that it’s been years since she’s been on a bicycle, but judging by the laps she’s doing around us and how much fun she’s having, it’s not hard to tell she’s reignited her childhood passion for the sport. It’s all coming back to her now. Literally, it’s just like riding a bike.
No doubt, she’ll be ready to take on the 30 km she has committed to on June 3, if not more. She already has a plan as to how she’s going to do it. “I’m going to surpass 30 km. I’m just going to do it in increments,” reveals the life-long athlete who’s been busy taking spin class training at Dynamic Fitness to prepare for the event. “I’ll hop on a bike and cycle Victoria Park 18 times. That would be about 36 km, so I’m good!”
Woodside is, by nature, a planner. It’s a personality trait that has led her to an exciting career as an events specialist, working on various high-profile projects and events that have taken her across the country and back on a wild adventure. She is a self-proclaimed “relay buff” who has coordinated such events as the Atlantic Canada leg of the Olympic Torch Relay for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and the 2012 Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada Stanley Cup Relay, which saw the Stanley Cup travel Island wide throughout the four-day event held in February. Her roles vary from project to project, and she does a lot (and I mean, a lot) of work in a short period of time, but if anyone can make it look like a cakewalk, it’s her.
You’ve probably heard of this thing called the “it factor;” that certain indefinable something that sets a person apart from the crowd? Well, whatever “it” is, she’s got it in spades. She’s the kind of girl who, when she walks into a room, exudes a kind of infectious positivity and confidence that makes you want to get to know her if you don’t already. If it sounds like I’m gushing, it’s because I am – this girl is the total package.
It’s hard to believe now but in 2008, a then 22-year-old Woodside wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life.
“It starts with wanting to make a change for the better,” she says. “I find that always initiates some sort of positivity, even if it’s coming from a negative situation. I found myself at a point where I felt I was in a bit of a rut and I needed to make a change. While doing some searching for different career opportunities, I was fortunate enough to apply enough to apply for a job with the Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia. It was a position that was split on both coasts so I was able to work out of my home in Atlantic Canada, working for the Olympic Torch Relay, planning that route, getting to travel, literally everywhere.”
And she’s not kidding about the travel. She adds with a laugh, “If you would ever like to know where a Tim Hortons is in the middle of Quebec or in Manitoba, you let me know and I’ll give you exact specific directions to getting there!”
Planning for the 106-day relay started two years prior to the actual start of Olympic Torch Relay on October 30, 2009 and entailed planning the route the Olympic Flame would take on what streets through various communities throughout Atlantic Canada. “My role was interesting,” says Woodside. “I was involved in the specific operations, like, minute to minute. I worked in a role called Celebration Advance. There were 189 Celebration Communities across the country, which essentially meant that they were getting a miniature opening ceremonies, so we had roughly two per every day of the Olympic Torch Relay. For example, on PEI, Charlottetown and Summerside each had a celebration.” She adds with a laugh: “We had to be fair – that’s a very important political footnote!”
As the Olympic Flame would reach a Celebration Community, Woodside’s job was to run ahead and clear a path for the torchbearer through a corridor to the stage where the flame would be used to light an awaiting cauldron. With each city she’s traveled to and with each torchbearer’s success story, Woodside is visibly moved by her experiences. Some memories make her tear up; others make her (and myself) laugh out loud, including the time she acted as a bodyguard for former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “I’m 5’6” and 130 pounds and I was The Terminator’s bodyguard,” she laughs, but she’s not kidding. You can see her getting up close and personal with the Governator along with his police escorts in amateur videos posted on YouTube. “He’s very tanned,” she reveals. Good to know.
On the day singer Michael Buble was supposed to run his leg of the Torch Relay, one day prior to the start of the Olympic Games, Woodside recalls how sick the Canadian crooner actually was. “The poor guy has the flu, he’s sick, and he’s sweating,” she says. “People were going crazy. Our staff tried to hold hands around him like a force field but I’ll just tell you, I hadn’t been pumping enough iron because people were breaking in. He stopped halfway down our walk and breaks into Oh Canada. The whole crowd went silent and started to sing along with him. It was just one of the best moments. A video wound up on Perez Hilton’s blog – even Perez thought it was cool! I could see myself in the front running ahead of him,” she says. “That was me! I was there!”
Out for a ride in Victoria Park, practicing for race day on a very awesome bike fron Sporting Intentions.
When the Olympics were underway, it was time for Woodside to rest. “I got home and I think I slept for three days straight,” she says, and for good reason. She had been on the road for five months, working twenty hours a day. When her contract was finished, she pursued her other passion – music – performing with The Feast Dinner Theatre in Summerside. “It was the greatest summer of my life because I went to work every day at four o’clock, played music every night, and just had a blast,” recalls the singer and talented piano player. “That’s what I did to have my downtime. Playing music is a bit of an outlet for that.”
Of course, that downtime didn’t last long. The organizers of the 2012 Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada approached her with the task of coordinating a four-day relay that would bring the Stanley Cup to as many Islanders as possible, similar to what she had done with the Olympic Flame. “Any events person will tell you once you’ve done one to the best of your capabilities, you’re bitten for life and you want to keep doing them,” she says. “I’m a huge fan of hockey and I wanted to do another (relay) so I said, ‘absolutely, I’ll do it!’”
It was an absolute success. For the first time in the history of Hockey Day in Canada the Stanley Cup traveled to more than one place for more than a day. The turnout was fantastic and everything went according to schedule. “I felt we never actually turned anyone away from seeing the Stanley Cup,” she says. “It just worked out that the timing was down to the minute and on time.”
In keeping with the sports theme, Woodside is excited to be working with the Becel Heart and Stroke Foundation Ride for Heart PEI, a cycling event fundraiser that will see hundreds of Islanders taking part in 2.5, 30, or 70 km rides on June 3. “The Heart and Stroke Foundation is, no pun intended, something that’s near and dear to my heart,” admits the event’s Corporate Challenge and VIP (Very Important Philanthropists) recruiter. “My youngest brother, Zack, actually has severe heart problems. He was PEI’s Heart Month Ambassador in 2008, so Heart and Stroke is well versed with my family and our story. To be able to help out with this event and to do it as a job is just so rewarding.”
She’ll be riding for Zack, whom she lists on her donation page as “my hero.”
As busy and as hectic as life can get working project-to-project, Woodside takes it stride. Just like learning to ride a bike again in her adult years, it’s all about finding the right balance. “If you can have something be successful and you have to be just a little bit more responsible to make that happen, it’s totally worth it,” she says. “That’s when you can make those connections, make those contacts and showcase your talents. You take it one day at a time.”
Want to know more about the Becel Heart & Stroke Ride for Heart PEI and how you can participate? Visit www.rideforheartpei.ca or get in touch on Twitter @hsfpei.
When it comes to project work, Candace Woodside is the main event Text by Meredith Morrison Photography by Alanna Jankov “This is awesome!” yells Candace Woodside, flashing a smile back at photographer Alanna Jankov and myself as she pedals down the pathway. The three of us are spending a Friday afternoon together for a […]
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