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Gather at Home

Gather at Home

Over 100 Simple Recipes, DIYs, and Inspiration for a Year of Occasions
edition:Hardcover
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The Long Table Cookbook 

The Long Table Cookbook 

Plant-based Recipes for Optimal Health
edition:Paperback
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Craft Cocktails

Craft Cocktails

Seasonally Inspired Drinks and Snacks from Our Sipping Room
edition:Paperback
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Excerpt

I knew from an early age that I wanted to forge my own path. By the time I was in my early twenties, I had finished a degree in biology and economics and was looking for a career that could use both. You might be surprised to learn that distilling immediately came to mind.

My interest in distilling had humble—and not so palatable—beginnings. I began dabbling in home-brew beer, and our student rental made its own house wine. It was terrible. Ask my wife. But that didn’t stop us from drinking it by the gallon and serving it proudly to our unsuspecting guests. In the end, we knew our fermented grape drink was never going to make it beyond the doors of our dorm, so my engineer roommate and I decided to try our hand at something a little different. We learned the physics and mechanics required for building a still so that we could make our own spirits, and what started out as a fun experiment quickly turned into serious business.

This first foray into making distilled spirits awakened an appreciation of rare and fine spirits that was fostered by my father. When I would return home for the summer during university, we’d sit in his living room and taste and review the newest additions to his spirit collection. In his extensive travels as a chemistry professor, he collected countless one-of-a-kind whiskies from Scotland, elusive sloe gins from the United Kingdom, incredible eaux-de-vie from France, and unique liquors from all over the globe. When he worked with graduate students from around the world, he always had one requirement of them—that they bring him a bottle of an unusual spirit from their home country to help him build his collection. I remember sampling a ginseng spirit with the root of the plant floating in the bottle. Now, ten years later, I can still taste it. In many ways, my dad sowed the seed for a father-son duo to take the craft distilling world by storm.

Suddenly, I wanted to learn everything I could about spirits—the styles, the ingredients, the equipment. But mostly, I wanted to make them. The spark had been lit and I knew distilling would become my lifelong passion. The more I learned about distilling, both formally and informally, the clearer it became: distilling, to me, was so much more exciting than making beer or wine. There was so much freedom with distilling. You could take merlot wine and distill it intogin. A distillery can transform an alcohol-based liquid (beer or wine) into a clear 95% alcohol with no flavour that can then be used to craft flavourful gins, vodkas, liqueurs, or whatever else you dream up. It was this freedom and the possibilities for exploration that drew me in.

The idea of starting a craft distillery was daunting, but my bigger fear was waking up in twenty years only to realize I had missed my calling. I knew this was my time, so I decided to go all in. I earned a Master Distiller certificate from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, in the United Kingdom, and gained hands-on experience working in craft distilleries in Scotland and the United States. I soaked up all the distilling techniques and know-how I could. By the time my tour was over, the only thing I needed was a distillery.

My timing couldn’t have been better. In the 2000s, small distilleries were beginning to pop up in greater numbers across North America. Small family-run distilleries in other parts of the world had been making spirits for generations, but the idea of pure experimentation—of creating anything you want from whatever ingredients are on hand—was a newer one.

I spent some time getting to know the industry and sampling some of the amazing spirits coming out of distilleries in California, Colorado, Utah, and Washington, and I could feel the momentum building. Consumers expected more from the products they were going to put into their bodies, and there was a clear difference between the quality of what the big companies were producing and what smaller operations could achieve with more care and attention. These consumers cared more than ever where the ingredients came from and who was making the product. They were also looking for a real connection to the producer, an honest story. A movement was beginning to take hold, and there was no way that I wasn’t going to be a part of it.

At the time, I was newly engaged, and my fiancée’s father, Gary Huggins, was paramount in making my dream a reality. He is a lifelong entrepreneur and dreamer himself. Lucky for me, he liked my dream, and he also believed that I could make it a reality. He would listen to my crazy ideas about making booze and not only would he take me seriously, but he would go on to convince me and the rest of the team that starting a craft distillery was possible—and that wecould make it successful. After some years of hard work, the distillery began to emerge in brick, mortar, and copper. Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers was born.

As we quickly approached time to open the distillery, we knew that we needed someone to help direct the hospitality side of the business, an area we had no experience in. We were lucky enough to meet Whitney Rorison. She had years of expertise under her belt in hospitality in the Niagara area, having helped in the successful openings of many wineries and even a brewery. She came on board in late 2012 to help guide us and build the visitor experience side of the distillery, and has grown to do so much more. It’s thanks to Whitney that you’re able to enjoy this book, because she helped write it.

In the evolution of the distillery, my father has remained an important player. While my dad spent his career studying freshwater lakes as a renowned environmental scientist and chemist, his passion has always been spirits. Today, he lives on a beautiful ten-acre hobby farm just outside Bowmanville, Ontario. He grows all kinds of botanicals, herbs, and fruit, and has become the “mad scientist” behind our flavours. His lab is his lair where tinctures are tweaked and botanicals are boiled to create the lush spirits we sell today.

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Fraiche Food, Full Hearts

Fraiche Food, Full Hearts

A Collection of Recipes for Every Day and Casual Celebrations
edition:Hardcover
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Excerpt

Introduction

Most people think we are sisters, but the truth is we are cousins—our moms are sisters. We grew up spending every possible moment together, going on any crazy adventure we could, and forever trying to match each other, from coordinated socksto matching yellow bikinis. 

Our childhood was awesome. We were both very responsible kids and mature for our age, so we were given a lot of liberty. It was a bit crazy! Once, when Tori was sixteen (the ink on her driver’s licence was still wet) and Jillian was fourteen, we went camping by ourselves in Tori’s mom’s mini van. Leaving from a family reunion in northern Alberta, we spent a week camping our way through the Rockies with a tent. Of course, that was long before cell phones, and we were too young for credit cards, so we relied on a bit of cash and a few pay phones to call home here and there to let everyone know we were still alive. We were nearly eaten by a bear in Banff, and Tori saved Jillian from choking on a tomato during a giggling fit (good thing for the Heimlich manoeuvre!), but we had so much fun.

Fast-forward to the present and we are still attached at the hip, living a stone’s throw from each other, both bloggers and moms to our sweet kids (who are nearly identical ages). Our relationship is so special; we are seriously two lucky gals. This book offers a peek into our lives and the recipes that have fed our families through the years.

As with most families, our celebrations revolve around food; it is serious business over here. Our granny is the head honcho and is always the first one on the phone delegating dishes and overcommitting herself to cooking a feast. We grew up in a Ukrainian-dominated culture where fresh, seasonal veggies weren’t exactly the highlight at mealtime. Holiday meals meant cabbage rolls, beet rolls, perogies, creamed mushrooms, turkey, gravy, stuffing, fluffy white buns, and green jellied salad (which clearly doesn’t qualify as a “green,” and don’t worry, it didn’t make the cut for this cookbook). Minutes before everyone sat down at the table, someone would throw a bowl of canned corn and some steamed peas on the table in between the bowl of sour cream and the dish of butter as a somewhat guilt-induced after thought. Sigh.

We would love to say that we raised our own chickens and made our own almond milk in our spare time, but that would be a big fat lie. We were a typical family ofthe ’80s. Processed foods were a routine part of our diet, and we never questioned where our food was from or what was in it.

Fortunately, our Ukrainian granny instilled the love of cooking in us at an early age. But family meals have become a bit trickier since we were kids! Two of our family members have celiac disease and can’t eat gluten, a couple of us have turned to a more plant-based diet and have all but eliminated animal products, at least one person is on a low-carb kick at any given time, and of course we have picky kids in the mix. We swear if someone develops a nut allergy, they’ll be kicked out of the family!

We suspect that our crew is not all that unique. Cooking for a crowd is tough to begin with, but cooking for a crowd with so many different food needs is enough to drive a person crazy! We wanted to find a way to help people create dishes for gatherings big or small, as well as everyday meals that can be easily adapted to fit everyone’s requirements. Family meals are important, and so is your sanity. Let’s face it, there’s only so much wine a person can drink. (We would know, for the record.)

We eat for so many different reasons. The most obvious is to nourish ourselves and our families. But culture also determines what we eat, and it has really shaped this cookbook for us. Meals that speak to the heart, those nostalgic dishes from our childhood: we include a lot of these in the book. Wherever possible we lightened up these dishes to make them healthier and more earth-friendly by adapting them to be gluten-free or vegan (at the risk of getting an earful from our eighty-six-year-old granny and every other baba in the world!), but in a few cases we left them in all of their decadent glory.

We made a conscious effort to make this book as plant-heavy as we could, and focused on providing plant-based substitutions where meat or dairy was used traditionally. There is zero downside to eating more plants and fewer animal products. It is better for the environment (it takes fewer resources to produce plant-based foods versus animal-based foods), kinder to the animals (for obvious reasons), and better for our health—a serious win all round. There is a misconception that plant-based eating is expensive, lacks taste, or is difficult, but we promise it is none of these. If you are new to plant-based eating, please try some of the recipes with the plant-based substitutions. We bet you will be pleasantly surprised!

We wrote this cookbook together, but since we are different people with our own perspectives, here are a few thoughts from each of our desks.

Note from Jillian
I was not always a whiz in the culinary department. My earliest memory of getting creative in the kitchen involves some very pasty blueberry muffins that I made at the ripe age of five while my parents had a meeting with some kind of financial guy. I put on my apron, added some blueberries to some flour, sugar, and milk, mixed it all up, and popped it in the oven. Six minutes later, voila—fresh and soggy blueberry muffins were served. The meeting must not have been a successful one because my parents nicely declined the muffins but urged the financial guy to eat one. Poor guy. I remember tasting one and thinking, These are horrible!

I always loved being in the kitchen and experimenting. At a young age I was the lucky recipient of one of those mini stoves many kids in the ’80s had. They weres toves that you could actually bake in. We kept ours in the basement playroom, sitting right on the carpet—talk about a liability! I recall Tori came around to play one day and she was so excited about giving it a shot. To my horror, I had forgotten about some garlic bread I’d made a few weeks earlier. Inside my little oven it had turned into a petri dish of garlicky mould.

Okay, so I did not always have the magic touch in the kitchen, but I was never afraid to try new things and experiment. I had an odd palate for a kid, starting from when I was four. One of my favourite dishes was mushrooms stuffed with escargots, and I loved onion sandwiches, Marmite, pickled eggs, and pickled herring. I would try anything anyone offered me.

Some of my fondest memories in the kitchen involve Christmases at Tori’s parents’ place. Tori and I helped with Christmas baking and Christmas dinner and wanted to be a part of it from start to finish. I am not sure if we were actually much help or if we just drove our moms crazy, but I remember spending a ton of time in the kitchen. My mom and grandma were my biggest culinary influences. They always encouraged me to be creative, try new things, and tweak recipes just to see what would happen. I still have the recipe for my and Grandma’s Crazy Tomato Soup Cake that we created together.

My journey with food has taken quite a turn over the last few years. My favourite foods growing up may have included bacon, cream, butter, cheese, and sour cream, but over the years I have come to look at food differently and now have a new respect for where food comes from. I also feel strongly that one of the reasons I have a ring on my finger is because of my cooking. My fiancé, Justin, always talks about the love weight he gained in our first year together. He reminisces about the jar of bacon grease I would keep on the kitchen counter for cooking.

Although many of my readers on www.jillianharris.com think I am vegan, I am not, but I would say I am a much more conscious eater than I used to be. Do not get me wrong: a cheese perogy with fried bacon, onions, and sour cream is still one of my favourite dishes of all time, but nowadays I prefer plant-based foods and reduce the amount of animal products I consume. I prefer local and fresh ingredients wherever possible. I limit my consumption of animal products and only consume the absolute best local, small-farm, free-range, grass-fed, massaged, loved, sung-to animal products. (Believe it or not, my no-negotiation item is pork, so no more bacon for this gal!) What about Justin? Well, it took a year or two, but after reading enough articles and watching documentaries, the whole family has adopted the same eating style. Justin is always excited when I make a savoury, hot, comfort meal and tell him it's vegan. He’s up for trying anything new and has been enthusiastic about the change. Our son Leo’s favourites include smoked tofu, baked beans, vegan bolognaise, and of course Tori’s Angel Cakes. Our daughter Annie was born while wrapping up the final stages of our cookbook. We hope she will be an adventurous eater, too!

The focus on food has really changed in our house. We are always planning meals around what is in season, local, healthy, and good for the earth. And, of course, it has to be delicious! I realize this is a polarizing and controversial topic, but this cookbook is not about just me; it is about our family, the way we entertain, our traditions, our grandma and uncle Dougie’s stubborn ways, and feeding the whole damn family. While I wish I could label this cookbook and my diet, there is no black-and-white way to put it. Tori and I have made most of our recipes thoughtful, vegetarian- or vegan-convertible, heavy on the plants, and easier on the environment.

In the end, what matters most to us is that you have fun with this cookbook, that we are all going back to putting down our devices, laughing, talking (not texting), cooking with each other, and creating memories. Because that is what really matters, right?

Jillian

xo

Note from Tori
Food has always been at the heart of our family, so it seems natural that when it was time for me to gravitate toward a profession, it was in the direction of food. Being in the kitchen has always been my happy place. And since Jillian and I were joined at the hip growing up, we ended up spending a good chunk of our childhood together in the kitchen having the time of our lives creating new things, some edible, some not! Little did we know that this early love of cooking and baking, along with the creative freedom our parents let us have in the kitchen (we made a lot of big messes to go with those sometimes questionable dishes), would set the foundation for our cookbook.

When I was growing up, I assumed that all families were like Jillian’s and mine. We all live within a stone’s throw of each other, have the whole crew on speed dial, and celebrate every single holiday together. It isn’t always fancy (actually, it rarely is) or even totally civil (we’re family, after all), but it’s my kind of perfect. I think it was a bit of a shock for my husband, Charles, when he entered the family without reading the fine print: you sign up for the group deal with our clan! I love them all to bits and am so grateful to have such a tight-knit family that can laugh and joke and tease each other and always know that we have each other’s backs. It has had a profound influence over who I am today, on how I want to raise Max and Charlie now that I’m a mom. Family really means everything to Charles and me, and we want our boys to grow up having that same bond with their cousins, aunts, and uncles. It’s my life goal to give them the same magical Christmas mornings and mind-bending Easter egg hunts that we had growing up.

I have loved baking ever since I was about five years old according to my mom, but if my memory serves me correctly, I have not always been good at it. The first loaf of bread I ever baked easily weighed a solid ten pounds, and our dog would not even touch the first pie I made. Ouch. They say that practice makes perfect, and here I am, still practising away.

I have always been completely obsessed with cookbooks. I used to copy out recipes in perfectly neat handwriting on index cards and file them away in an accordion folder that I still have (I’d like those hours back for the record!). I read cookbooks the way most people read novels. But I never thought I would be lucky enough to write a cookbook of my own, especially with my “sister”—it’s a dream come true!

I took an interest in nutrition at an early age. I think it started in grade five, when we learned about the difference between white bread and brown bread and a million reasons to eat your veggies, and I was hooked. My poor parents! Honestly, I think I turned into their biggest nightmare. I took it a bit far, to be honest, forgetting to recognize that food serves a number of purposes in our lives beyond providing nutrients, and that there was still a place for the food that we grew up with, as rich as it may have been. Now that I have my own family, I want Max and Charlie to grow up with a healthy relationship with food. We talk a lot about “sometimes foods” and “everyday foods,” and how they can both fit in a well-rounded diet. I am not vegan but have always eaten a plant-heavy diet, and I’m always looking for new ways to make plant-based eating, and food in general, more enjoyable.

So here’s the deal. The dietitian in me wants to tell you that some of the recipes in this book are “sometimes foods” that we eat in moderation on special occasions. However, the foodie in me wants to pour you a good glass of wine and tell you that life is short and eating dishes made from quality ingredients, in moderation and in good company, is totally okay. I think both perspectives are right. I grew up with perogies and have zero intention of giving them up the few times a year that I eat them. Food is meant to be nourishing in every sense of the word. Yes, we need to feed our body with the nutrients it needs to be strong and healthy. But I also believe that food, preferably home-cooked with incredible wholesome ingredients (and mostly plants), is meant to be enjoyed with friends and family in all of its nostalgic glory to nourish our souls as well. Because food is love.

We are so honoured to be able to share this labour of love and little piece of our family with you. We wrote this cookbook with the hope that it will help inspire you to eat together more often, cook your own food using beautiful, simple, wholesome ingredients, eat more plants, indulge a little when it counts, and most important, to have fun with those you love.

Tori

xo

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Kitchen Party

Kitchen Party

Effortless Recipes for Every Occasion
edition:Hardcover
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From the Introduction
I love food. That’s probably the most basic and universally agreed-upon statement you’ve ever heard, right? But as clichéd as it might sound, it’s true! I love everything about food—from planning and shopping, to cooking and eating. I love how food has the ability to bring people together, to transport a person from the stresses of their day, and to convey so much love in just a few bites.

The classic kindergarten mantra of “sharing is caring” is something I continue to live by, especially when it comes to food. Cooking, baking, and eating are some of the most social acts that I take part in every day, and I suspect the same might be true for you. Everyone has had days where the only thing that has pulled them out of a slump was baking and eating a whole batch of chocolate chip cookies but, most of the time, we cook for others. My husband, Aaron, often quips that when I’m left to cook only for myself, I eat like a raccoon, grabbing handfuls of pretzels, raw carrot sticks, and spoonfuls of whatever leftovers are hanging around the fridge. For me, half the fun of food is in preparing it for others, so why would I bother whipping up an exciting meal if I’m left to eat it all on my lonesome? In my house, any excuse I can think of is reason enough to invite friends over to share in a meal, grand or humble. Whenever I have people over, the festivities always revolve around the kitchen. No matter the occasion, during at least one point, every single person in attendance will be packed into my tiny scullery, chitchatting away, tasting things here and there, and dipping into the fridge for another drink. This is what I call a kitchen party.

For many Canadians, the term “kitchen party” is evocative of the East Coast. Renowned for their hospitality, good home cooking, and great music, East Coasters are arguably the chief experts in bringing friends and family together for informal parties centered on the heart of the home. In my family, this tradition has evolved from our East Coast roots but really, gathering around the comfort of a hearth of any description is something everyone can relate to. Kitchen parties should be overflowing with great company and good food—food that people want to eat, that might remind them of an old favorite. It should be the type of food that invites you to get your hands dirty, help yourself to a few more forkfuls, and nosh away for hours, surrounded by friends and family.

Kitchen Party: Cooking for Those You Love is here to banish any inflated pomp, circumstance, and anxiety surrounding the idea of inviting people into your home. This is a cookbook to complement parties that last for hours, allowing you to really catch up in the complete comfort of your own home. It’s filled to the brim with family-style dishes for brunches, cocktails, dinners, and special occasions—along with some baked goods and desserts, of course. They’re clear, simple, and straightforward recipes that are grand enough for company, yet easy enough to accomplish on a regular Tuesday night. They’re meant to be plunked down on a table that is groaning under the weight of delicious food and relaxed elbows. Each and every morsel has been put through the rigorous Myra Berg litmus test, meaning that if my wonderful and kitchen-inept mother can make it, anyone can! So go ahead—fill this book with sticky notes, dog-ear the pages, mark it up with pens and some kitchen mess, and try halving your favorite recipes if you’re cooking for smaller numbers.

From my kitchen to yours, Kitchen Party is here to make you look like the culinary wizard I know you are and to help you experience the same joy that I do when I’m cooking for and sharing food with those I love.

Welcome to the party!

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On Boards

On Boards

Simple & Inspiring Recipe Ideas to Share at Every Gathering
edition:Hardcover
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Welcome! Come in, pull up a cushion (yes, cushion) and sit down. Make yourself comfortable, and let me tell you a little about how I love to eat.

When I recall my fondest food memories, they’re filled with people sharing simple food, family-style. People crowded around a table, passing bites around. People curled up with their feet on the sofa, wineglass perched delicately on the armrest. People sitting on cushions eating casually, no utensils required. And I’m not off fussing in the kitchen; I’m with everyone else, enjoying every last bite of baguette, Brie and blackberry, not giving a second thought to anything other than the moment. If that sounds like an experience you would like to be a part of, this book is for you, because that’s the beauty of a big, bountiful board, a board full of food to pick and share from. Because of that board, I don’t have to be stressing over dinner—I can sit back and enjoy the company of my family and friends. For me, the recipe for a perfect gathering is:

Find some good company.
Gather around a big board.
Make some great memories.
I truly believe you don’t have to prep and plan an elaborate spread every time you want to entertain. The effort that goes into hosting shouldn’t overshadow what you serve. But the pressure we put on ourselves can be overwhelming. Trust me, I’ve been there. Anticipating guests on the weekend, scouring my cookbooks for that perfect dish, making four stops to gather every item in a long list of ingredients. Then, after following the recipe to the letter, closing the oven door and just praying it works. Only for when the guests finally arrive, to still be too busy in the kitchen to actually spend time with them! That used to be me. But not anymore. It was when I had a family of my own that I realized how fast time passes and that the little moments in life are what really matter. I didn’t want to miss those moments because I was too busy whisking a sauce to hear the stories being shared in the other room.

Serving food on boards is the perfect solution to serving something delicious that has also, almost entirely, been prepared in advance. Most of what goes onto a board can be made ahead of time, so you never have the stress of timing a perfect meal. And the best thing about boards is that no matter your culinary skill level, you can create something beautiful. But no matter how the board turns out, it will be the stories, laughter and company that people will remember. Whether you’re having a picnic with close friends or a fabulous New Year’s Eve celebration, boards are really about the people sitting around them and give you a real chance to eat, share and connect with those you love.

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The Last Schmaltz
Excerpt

TWO COOKS PARADE A WHOLE ROASTED PIG through the dining room as though it’s an old-timey duchess being transported to her rendezvous in a grand sedan chair. It’s a scene that happens quite a bit when you hang out with Anthony, actually, and it never gets old.

The timelessness of the moment, a Renaissance painting come to life, is only enhanced by the smell of woodsmoke from the massive grill, the sound of a guitar being strummed, and the abundance of animal hides strewn across therough-hewn benches.

We’re at Big Crow, the backyard barbecue joint set discreetly behind Rose and Sons. It’s Anthony’s most elemental and, in some ways, his most loved restaurant. It was also never supposed to happen.

“When we took over People’s Foods, there were still tenants living in the house upstairs,” Anthony recalls. “As they moved out we took over. The backyard where Big Crow is now was just a backyard. It was never meant to be its own restaurant, but operating a 28-seat diner is insane, so we wanted to find a way to bring more people in.”

At first, the idea was just to cook the food in Rose and Sons and move it to the backyard, but Anthony and his team quickly realized that the distance was too far and too awkward, so they moved a little grill out back to cook off of. From there, it snowballed.

The idea of creating a Southern barbecue joint was floated briefly, but Anthony had been burnt by that particular genre once before. “It’s harsh out there for a barbecue joint,” he says. “Purists are so judgy. Even when I opened Drake BBQ, which was just pulled pork and brisket, I heard the same two things: ‘Oh, they don’t serve chopped brisket in Texas’ and ‘This sauce isn’t how it’s supposed to be.’ Barbecue people are tough.”

As Big Crow’s simple wooden walls went up and the shipping container that would serve as the bar and prep kitchen was settled into place, the space took on a kind of Quebec sugar shack meets Ontario cottage vibe. Being in a backyard automatically brought up memories of being in the country and cooking outside. Clearly, the evocation of barbecue was not going away, so Anthony decided to simply draw inspiration from Canadian backyard barbecues, a style with fewer rigid rules and more room to include all kinds of traditions.

With the concept in place, the cooks were free to play with ideas; everything from peameal bacon subs and chopped brisket nachos to Cornish hens brined in pickle juice and smoked ox tongue. Even whole hogs roasted in a La Caja China, a Chinese/Cuban contraption that cooks a pig in a box beneath a pile of coals. That same China Box, as they’re known, is where tonight’s epic beast comes from. The tawny, 80-pound hog is the centerpiece for a meal Anthony is hosting for the crew behind the Boots and Hearts Music Festival.

“Of all the music events we’ve catered over the years—WayHome, Field Trip, NXNE—Boots and Hearts was always my favorite,” Anthony says. “Nobody loves music like country-music fans.”

On a big table just outside the dining room, there are a whole bed’s worth of oysters, lined up waiting to be shucked: sweet Beausoleils from New Brunswick; plump, firm French Hooters from PEI; rich Tatamagouches from Nova Scotia.

“This is my first,” announces Mark, a bulky stagehand who is about to pop his oyster cherry. He tilts the shell back, winces, and immediately chases thebivalve with a slug of beer. “How was it?” I ask. “Not bad,” he says through watering eyes. Cold, saline, and with a cucumber sweetness, they taste much better than “not bad” to me.

I polish off a few more and head inside just in time to hear Stan Dunford, the legendary venture capitalist, transportation executive, and founder of Bootsand Hearts, introduce tonight’s performer, a musician named Jesse Gold whom Stan discovered as part of the festival’s emerging artist showcase series. Decked out head to toe in black and looking a bit like a hip, bearded Hank Williams, Jesse launches into an impressive acoustic set, just a singer and aguitar, of blue-eyed country soul.

A table of fans sway to the music and sing along with every word, positioning themselves to make sure Jesse is framed in the background of their peace-sign flashing selfies.

After the final chord is strummed and the applause dies down, it’s time to eat. The cooks—Anthony included—have been busily reducing the hog to a pileof shreds and shards of crisp skin. As the plates start to arrive, people squeeze together along the long rows of benches to make room for their friends and slather gamey whipped duck fat over slices of dark, heavy bread. Crisp tortillas are dragged through creamy guacamole. Even the salad gets a turn on the grill, imbuing the romaine and treviso with a dose of smoke. Meat plates arrive, pulled pork, of course, but also thick sausage links and caramelized chicken, and with them more flavor in the form of squeeze bottles full of sauce: earthy and rich chopped mushroom salsa, grilled wild leek relish made with leeks from around Anthony’s cottage, and jalapeño cream.

In the midst of the feasting, I catch a glimpse of Anthony standing alone in aquiet corner, surveying the scene. Wiping the pork fat off my face, I excusemyself and walk over. “Happy with the party?” I ask.

“Totally,” he says. “You know, what I love about this place is that it kind ofjust came into its own. We didn’t want to push anything on the restaurant. Wewanted it to evolve into what it wanted to be. You can’t create culture.”

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Cooking in Color: Vibrant, Delicious, Beautiful Food

Cooking in Color: Vibrant, Delicious, Beautiful Food

Adrian Harris and Jeremy Inglett of The Food Gays
edition:Hardcover
also available: eBook
tagged : entertaining
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