Some people come into the Mercantile for their favourite snacks and treats (sometimes they don't even make it our of the store before they're devoured!) and we share that enthusiasm. But one of our favourite things is when someone comes into the store with a vague look of panic asking for that elusive ingredient they need for something they're preparing at home. You have no idea how gratifying it is to be able to say "Yes, of course we have that!" to some of the most obscure requests. As avid home cooks ourselves, we're always thrilled to play some small part in your home culinary adventures.
To that end, we thought that instead of just touting a delicious product or two this week, we'd give you some specifics on how to make use of things.
First of all, we've written before here about the amazing Okazu condiment by Toronto's Abokichi. It's a versatile condiment with great depth of flavour and we even have a few little booklets from Abokichi to hand out if you come in and buy a jar but when we sampled some the other day and someone was asking us about applications for it we had a bit of a brainstorm and tried it out:
-Take a tablespoon of Okazu and a tablespoon of mayonnaise and stir those together;
-slather that on a crusty kaiser or soft Asian steamed bun:
-lay on a slab of braised pork belly;
-top with watercress, chow down.
OK, here's the other one - a simple, healthy snack using togarishi - a Japanese seasoning that consists of between 7 and 9 flavours, including chilies, sesame, orange peel, nori seaweed and ginger (you'll find it just past the salts near the coffee grinder):
1 bunch curly kale, washed and dried
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of togarashi with sea salt
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash the kale then gently pat it dry. Remove the tough stems from each leaf, then tear the leaves into large pieces (they will shrink when they bake).
-In a large bowl drizzle the olive oil onto the kale, using your hands to massage the oil into the leaves. Sprinkle the salted togarashi onto the kale — you may need to use your hands to evenly distribute the spice.
-Lay out the leaves on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper or a silpat. Bake for 16 minutes, turning after 8 minutes. Leaves should be crips and curled at the edges.