Stars and Stripes Forever, and the Maple Leaf

May 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

It’s that time again…Memorial Day 2014.  It’s been a whirlwind weekend starting with Dan Sullivan’s 70th Birthday Party at The Four Seasons Toronto.

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It was quite a party with the Ken Arlen Orchestra and many surprises throughout the evening including Ida Hawk and some of her original work.  Dan was surprised by the 300+ person crowd of people.  It was a great testament to the life and work of this amazing man, made possible by the love, and partnership of Babs Smith.  They’ve touched us in a profound and special way.  It was great seeing spouses and partners for a fun-filled evening.  We danced the night away!




Indulged in some poutine when we arrived in Toronto at Melt Grilled Cheese on Richmond Street West.

Poutine (/pˈtn/; French: [putin], Quebec French:[put͡sɪn] ( )) is a common Canadian dish, originally from Quebec, made with french fries, topped with a light brown gravy-like sauce and cheese curds.[1]




The morning after the party had the best cappuchino and free wifi at Dark Horse on Spadina in Chinatown/Fashion District.



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Walked off the cappuchino on Toronto’s beautiful lake front.



Back home  in Chicago for the rest of the holiday weekend.  Blackhawks lose,


Emma and friends played in a soccer tournament for another team,


and the parade closes out the weekend.  Lots of new friends joined us this year.

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Up too late Sunday night preparing food to pass at the parade.  Both recipes from Gale Gand.

Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake Muffins


1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick of butter
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup sour cream
Heat oven to 375.  Line muffin pans with liners (24).  For the topping, use a mixer and combine the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Mix low.  Add butter and mix until crumbly.  Add chocolate chips.
For the muffins, sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.  In mixer bowl, beat the butter on medium until fluffy.  Add sugar and mix well.  Add eggs, vanilla and 1/3 of the sour cream and 1/3 of the dry ingredients.  Repeat until all ingredients are mixed.  Scoop into muffin cups.  Spoon topping on top and bake for 20-25 minutes.




Ingredients1 cup milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 eggs
1 cup grated fol epi (young French-style Swiss cheese), Gruyere, or other Swiss cheese
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 clove garlic chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
2 tablespoons fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
DirectionsPreheat the oven to 425 degrees F.Heat the milk and butter in a medium-large saucepan over medium-high heat. When the mixture simmers and the butter is melted, add the flour all at once and stir. Add the salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and stir for 1 to 2 minutes to dry the mixture out. Turn off heat and stir a bit more to cool slightly.Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well to incorporate each egg before adding the next. Stir in the cheese, mustards, and cayenne and mix until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag with a large plain tip.Pipe the mixture onto to a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet in rows of kisses, about 1- inch in diameter.IMG_8774Smooth out any bumps with a fingertip dipped in flour.(The recipe can be made to this point up to 8 hours in advance and refrigerated, or frozen for up to a week. Thaw at room temperature before baking.)Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees F and continue baking until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes more.  While baking prepare the topping.  Melt butter at med-low heat. Add garlic and saute.  Remove from heat and add parsley.  Drizzle over gougeres and sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano.  Serve warm.IMG_8780

Here’s a great video of  Shelley Young from the Chopping Block on How to Make Gougeres.


Same time next year.  Must get Pam’s Crustless Spinach Quiche recipe passed down from her mother.

Remembering those that served and made the ultimate sacrifice for their country!

With Love,




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