Beer, Bacon & Butter

Beer, bacon and butter – these are three things that I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving. Keep reading below for a full debrief on how Thanksgiving went down in my house, including the salacious details of how the vegetables got drunk (but not wasted).

I’m also thankful for the extraordinary autumn weather we’ve had in Toronto this weekend. Each day has been crisp, sunny and nostalgia-inducing, a long weekend tailor made for Thanksgiving. I’ve been traipsing around in leggings, a plaid shawl pinned like a cape and chelsea boots, and will continue to do so until the weather puts a stop to it.


The above picture is a bit out of focus, let’s get a close up on those boots…


Canadian Thanksgiving

I’m also grateful for family – this was my first year cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my parents who are visiting from out of town. Without my mother, I would not have been able to pull off cooking a turkey, sides, homemade gravy and pumpkin pie in my teeny galley kitchen. Without my father and boyfriend, we wouldn’t have been able to eat it all.


This was my second year cooking a turkey – last year we did Friendsgiving and I cooked one from frozen. With memories of last year’s thaw-a-thon still haunting me, I decided to order a fresh turkey from The Healthy Butcher. We also picked up a container of their homemade dressing and cranberry sauce.

We warmed the dressing separately in the oven, and stuffed the turkey with fresh thyme and sage, a full lemon, a macintosh apple and half an onion so he’d steam up with flavour from the inside-out.


Under his skin we rubbed a mixture of butter, more fresh sage & thyme, lemon zest, salt, pepper, poultry spice and mustard powder.

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For our main roasted side, we cubed carrots, butternut squash and sweet potatoes. We coated them in olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme, then drenched them in about a cup and a half of Collective Arts Saint of Circumstance Citrus-Infused Blonde Ale so they’d tell all their secrets over dinner. To help them caramelize towards the end we added about half a cup of pure maple syrup.


While the root vegetables were roasting, we slow braised brussel sprouts on the stovetop with the same beer, turkey drippings and smoked bacon from The Healthy Butcher.


Finger foods were not forgotten – the pickles and olives nested nicely in bowls I got on sale at West Elm this weekend.


We whipped up some creamy potatoes in my KitchenAid electric mixer, Betty. Normally I’d add in some sour cream (makes them taste like perogies) but my mom isn’t a fan so we just added a bit of regular cream, butter and chicken stock. We made gravy from the turkey giblets and drippings and dinner was served.


We cracked a bottle of Clairette de Die, a sweet natural sparkling wine from the Drôme region of southeastern France near where I used to live. According to local lore, a Gallic sherpard left a bottle of wine in La Drôme river to chill and forgot it over winter. When it was retrieved in the spring after sitting out all winter, he noticed it had become carbonated. This started a new tradition among Gallic tribes of making sparkling wine.


For dessert, I just made a simple pumpkin pie, but used my rectangular tart pan instead of a round pie plate.


My mom bought me an amazing pastry cloth and rolling pin cover from Lee Valley that has made all of the difference in the world. It was much more easy to roll out the dough and clean up was a breeze.


You rub flour into the cloth and it keeps the dough from sticking. It also imparts a nice cloth texture to the dough which gives it a uniform look. I used my Williams-Sonoma pastry cutters to do a few leaf cutouts as well.

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With a rectangular pie, you can slice it into tidy little tranches with a pretty pastry cutout on each one. Fresh homemade whipped cream with cinnamon and vanilla is the finishing touch.


And with that picture, I’m off to have some leftover pie for breakfast. Hope everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving!

x Dana

The first frock & fig

For the Frock & Fig’s inaugural post, I’m going literal with a proper tea dress and a black mission fig and peach crostata. Don’t worry though, this blog won’t be all flounces and  Ficus carica – I’ve been known to don a pair of trousers and cook a steak too.

The Frock

I celebrated a friend’s birthday last weekend with dinner at Grano up near Davisville. It was a gorgeous evening and we had the private dining courtyard in the back to ourselves, where we ate alfresco in the warm summer air. I’d planned to wear a new bright blue form fitting Zara dress but the weather was so warm I changed my mind at the last minute and went with this breezy little number. This sundress is so comfortable and versatile – I’ve worn it to a wedding and even to work smartened up with a cardigan and belt. The only real accessory it needs is a tan though, so I kept it simple here with fine gold jewelry and flat sandals.


Dress – Modcloth

Bag – Aldo

Sunnies – Dolce & Gabbana

Black Mission Fig & Peach and Pluot Crostatas

My boss and I had a lunch meeting at Balzac’s this week and we walked back to the office through the St. Lawrence Market. She bought some black mission figs and sent me home with a half dozen. I’ve been dreaming about Forno Cultura’s beautiful crostatas which are baked in a long fluted rectangular pan, so you can slice off a tidy little tranche at a time. I’d recently picked up such a pan from Williams Sonoma and decided to try it out using the figs as well as some Ontario peaches and pluots which are at the height of their season.

I started out by mixing the pie crust and chilling the dough – you can use any recipe, I like Crisco‘s as it’s straightforward (and on the box!). I put my mixing bowl, wire whip mixing attachment and granite rolling pin in the freezer before starting – this will help make your pastry flaky. Then I went to work thinly slicing the peaches and figs.

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Next I mixed up a half cup of sugar, one tbsp cornstarch, one tsp cardamom, one tsp lemon juice, and the zest of half a lemon. I added this to the peaches (not the figs – they’re too fragile) and let them macerate about 15 mins while I prepared the crust.


I rolled out the dough, slipped it into the pan and layered in the peaches and figs. I made a fancy top crust using pie crust cutters from Williams Sonoma – see similar ones here – and glazed it with egg yolk and sugar.

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40 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees F and I had a beautiful golden crostata.


I had some extra dough and peaches so I threw together a rustic version as well.


I also made one with pluots, omitting the cardamom but adding some fresh thyme.






x Dana