Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fire Retardants, Travel League, Plastic Bags.

Well, that’s delightful news, apparently the flame retardants used on furniture and such don’t actually do the job and in fact are more of a health hazard to people instead. The following picture shows two chairs set on fire, both burning equally well although one has retardant materials and one does not.
Do read the article, it covers a wide field of health concerns and the chemical industry’s ‘blatant falsehoods’.
Today we are off on our Travel League bowling in Elmira. I wasnMy_Ball’t planning to go mainly because I am spending the next day in hospital where I have to arrive so very early, but no real reason not to, I’ll be in bed all day. From reading the stuff I have been given, I may not be bowling Monday, I just don’t remember what happened last year or how quickly I was back to normal. I do remember I had a bruise to write home about think I posted a picture on here, certainly on Facebook. We were talking about some of the changes on medical science with our foot nurse and I was commenting about how they plugged the entry point into my artery last year whereas in ‘04 someone had had to maintain pressure until it stopped bleeding. As the nurse pointed out, somebody got tired of doing that and invented a better way. Never thought of it in that light before. Logical though.

I am sorry to hear that Toronto’s proposed ban on single use Plastic bagsplastic bags has been suspended for the moment as it has come under fire from several sources. Locally plastic bags in our food store, Zehrs, are sold at 10 cents a piece, not sure what other stores do, but so many end up in landfills and they do not biodegrade and are causing a big environmental problem. I personally do use the ones I get, not many we have our own bags, for several uses, such as garbage bin liners, but that doesn’t alter the fact that I am still using these bags and they will eventually end up in a landfill. I think the onus is on the user to not do so otherwise the plastic bag manufacturers won’t bother to find a way of making them biodegradable.

By the way, I made the cassoulet recipe which I posted a few days ago, we had it for supper last night. Delicious. I have never made a real cassoulet which is supposed to contain Duck confit. Maybe one of these days. Forgot to mention, I got a phone call from Vincenzo's that my Turron was in so I asked them to put two chocolate and two white ones aside for me. I have to be good and not open them before Christmas though.

I like mushrooms, and I certainly like wild mushrooms so I thought this would be a nice recipe to try.

Wild Mushroom Tart


Serves 10

Wild Mushroom TartINGREDIENTS
For the Filling:
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 3/4 cups whole or 2% milk
12 ounces (3/4 pound) mixed wild and domestic mushrooms (chanterelles, shiitake, cremini, etc.), woody stems ends trimmed.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large leeks, halved lengthwise and well rinsed, and thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature

Other necessary recipes:Gruyere Pastry Dough

Remove the pastry from the refrigerator 20 minutes before you begin to roll. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a 14- by 10-inch rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Drape over the rolling pin and transfer to a 13- by 9-inch ceramic tart dish or a 12-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom. Without stretching, ease the pastry into the corners of the dish. Fold any overhanging dough back over itself and press together to build up the rim about 1/4 inch above the top of the dish (this will compensate for shrinkage). Prick the base with a fork. Chill for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line the dish with parchment paper or foil and fill with ceramic pie weights, rice, or beans, pressing them gently into the corners. Bake for 15 minutes, until the edges begin to shrink away from the dish. Remove the paper and weights and bake for about 4 minutes more, until the base appears dry. Remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 375 degrees F. (Or, you could cool the crust on a rack for up to 2 hours before proceeding.) Do not fill the pastry until just before cooking.

In a small saucepan, bring the milk up to just below the boiling point. Remove from the heat, add the porcini, and swirl to cover all the mushrooms. Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes. Squeeze the porcini mushrooms firmly, draining the milk back into the pan. Chop the porcini and strain the milk to remove any grit; set both aside. Slice the fresh mushrooms.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F, if it is not already hot from cooking the pastry. In a saute pan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Saute the shallots over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring, until softened, Add all the mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms are tender and all their liquid has evaporated, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. In the same pan, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the leeks and sauté over low heat, covered, until completely tender but not browned, about 12 minutes. Stir in the tarragon, season with a pinch each of salt and pepper, and cook for one minute more.

Spread the base of the pre-baked crust evenly with the mustard and then spread the mushroom and the leek mixtures evenly in the crust. In a bowl, quickly but thoroughly whisk together the porcini-soaking milk, cream, eggs, egg yolks, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pour the custard over the vegetables and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until all but the very center is set and lightly browned. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Cut into squares or wedges and serve warm or at room temperature. Do not refrigerate after baking or the crust will become soggy.

Have a great day



  1. Good luck for tomorrow Jo
    Hope you bowled well today .... that ball looks mid way between our lawn bowls size and our tenpin bowling ball size?
    I haven't bowled seriously (tenpin) since we moved house - because of all the travelling we were doing it played havoc with the league matches and we often had to bowl 12 games in one evening (without opponents) just to catch up on the scores - no fun and very tiring/expensive. We could bowl 'just for fun' but I prefer the atmosphere and the competition of playing league.

    1. Thanks Sue.

      No actually the ball is quite a lot smaller than a 10 pin. You hold it in your hand to bowl, no finger holes. 5 Pin bowling is a Canadian game - it isn't played anywhere else.

      We play on a league all the time. These days, being a bunch of oldsters, we are most of us not that good. Didn't do too badly today, certainly in my first game.

  2. I hope everything goes well tomorrow.