Toronto has a festival for just about everything. With only so many warm weather weekends in Canada we get overloaded with multiple events like Pride, Afro Fest, Buskerfest, Fringe Festival, Caribana- plus festivals for just about every ethnic group and neighbourhood. Did I mention marathons?.. lots of marathons.
This past weekend was no exception. We had the Ukrainian festival in Bloor West village and Polish Fest on Roncie, not to mention two stellar music festivals: Riot Fest and TURF. Layer on the closing of TIFF and the rise of the red hot Blue Jays and it was a busy one around town. (P.S. Next weekend is Word on the street – a fab fest celebrating reading and the literary arts).
I was at the Polish festival all weekend tending bar at The Local and watching the lovely 17 year old Mika pedal my hot sauces for public sale. Initially, I was super excited when owner Melissa Sexton asked if I’d like to be a part of the booth. I spent all week churning out batches of eye watering sauces and heating our kitchen to unbearable temperatures with constantly boiling vats of water and jars. I suffered burns and sneezed a lot, but I’d do just about anything in the name of glorious hot sauce.
Saturday morning we were open for business. As the day progressed and I watched endless people taste and not buy, I started to sweat. It hadn’t occurred to me that they might not sell – worse yet – maybe it wasn’t as awesome as I thought. We managed to sell some jars, but not enough to break even.
It made me realize just how sensitive I am. Watching all those people scooping my heart and soul onto a chip, biting down, then waiting for the hmmms and haaaahs as they scrunch up their faces with criticisms and remarks on how they’d make it better. I witnessed people grazing as if it were a cocktail party – chatting like I wasn’t there as they dipped and talked about the weather. I had folks return again and again over the weekend to eat and praise my sauce, but never buy. I let Mika do her thing as I hid my head in the sand.
Luckily the second day went much better and in the end I sold all but one jar which I happily took home. Lesson learned: you can’t possibly please everyone -“a chacun son gout” OR “to each their own taste”. For a self-concious people-pleaser like myself it’s torture giving into this idea. Like my sauce = like me, right? Creating something you believe in and then letting it go is mother cluckin’ scary.
So, I’d like to thank anyone reading this that took home a jar of my sauce: HOOCHIE COOCHIE XXX CITRUS SAUCE and HEEBIE JEEBIE HOT CHA CHA SAUCE. They were a labour of love and a learning experience. Coming next week is a mild and slightly sweet sauce for those who prefer less heat, but lots of flavour. Stay tuned…
SCRAMBLED EGG TACOS WITH HERBY FENNEL GARNISH
I am not the best for remembering breakfast. Some days I wake up rather late and others I’m just not peckish. I’ve never been a morning eater (or morning person), in high school I’d scarf a Pizza Pocket or microwave burrito – I didn’t have the greatest eating habits back then. Now that we have more information on whole foods and nutrition I am trying where I can to stick with fresh, home prepared meals. Problem is – breakfast and lunch suffer greatly in our household. Johnny is often in the basement for eight to ten hours practising, editing and doing computer work and I’m likely sleeping in (I work late nights and have a bit of a Netflix addiction).
So today when I was standing in the kitchen trying to decide what to quickly get in me before yoga, I spied my last jar of hot sauce and knew right away I wanted eggs. Cheap, fast, easy and quite possibly one of my favourite things to slather in fiery goodness. Wrap that little buddy in a tortilla and Mexi-fy it for a most satisfying meal.
Ingredients for your garnish are open to any tweak. This go around I used yellow tomatoes because I love their tartness and their pretty hue. Any tomato works, or replace with some sautéed mushroom or red pepper. This garnish can be anything you have on hand, just pick at least one ingredient with some crunch – like cucumber or cabbage – and one for some sweetness, and I like including onion in just about everything.
For fresh herbs I used parsley since that’s what I had on hand, but basil is always fabu. Dill is also delish, as are cilantro or mint. Arugula – possibly my favourite thing ever – is always welcome. Play with what you like or have in your crisper. Top with some fresh jalapenos if you like heat, or even better, some of my favourite hot sauce.
1/4 fennel bulb, very thinly sliced, feathery tops reserved
3 green onions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
1 yellow tomato, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil, plus 1 tsp for your pan
juice of 1/2 lemon or lime (or a splash of vinegar)
1 heaping tsp plain full fat yogurt
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
a couple splashes of milk or cream
4 -6 small flour tortillas
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Start by making your garnish: In a small bowl whisk 1 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice, yogurt and garlic with a pinch of salt and a few twists or fresh pepper. Toss in your fennel, onions and tomatoes until well combined. Let sit while you make your eggs, or make ahead and refrigerate for a few hours – overnight.
To make your eggs: In a small bowl, crack your eggs and whisk with the cream and some salt and pepper until fluffy and lighter in colour. Heat a large non-stick skillet on high. Add 1 tsp oil and swirl to coat the pan. Reduce heat to medium. Pour in your egg mixture. As the edges start to set use a spatula to pull them towards the middle allowing the liquidy top to spill out to the sides. Don’t move it around too much, the less you work it the lighter and softer it will be. Do this 2 or 3 times until just cooked and no longer runny. Remove from heat.
To assemble: Warm your torts in the oven or in your pan until soft and toasty. Divide the eggs between the wraps and top with the fennel garnish, fresh herbs and fennel frond. Sprinkle with peppers or a little hot sauce, if you like. Serve with any extra garnish on the side as salad.