Little Things I’m Loving Lateley

Hi friends! I thought I’d share a few things I’ve been loving lately, both locally and in the wider world.

Toronto

Bread knots at Buca

(Image via Post City Toronto)

If you follow me on Yelp, you’ll know that I had a very conflicted experience at Toronto’s meat-centric foodie haven Buca, which got all sorts of famous after Jamie Oliver Instagrammed his endorsement of his “favourite meal of the year” (talk about social media gold!) Since I love love love Italian food, I was eager to try the place out; I was certain that, as a vegetarian with the occasional vegan impulse, I’d be able to find something to suit my fancy on their meat-filled menu. I succeeded, but not before spotting numerous offerings of horse meat. Needless to say, this did not sit well with me, and I departed the buzz-worthy Buca with feelings of tremendous guilt. The food and service were truly out of this world (arguably among the best of both I’ve ever experienced in Toronto), but domestic animals just crossed too many lines for me.

Fortunately, guilt-ridden vegetarians can still enjoy the best of Buca from home in the form of their famed (and, coincidentally, meat-free) bread knots, also known as nodini. These little carb bombs were served to our table piping hot and devoured within seconds. If you’re thinking of starting a cult and looking to replace the Kool-Aid with something a little more continental (but equally effective), Chef Rob Gentile was kind enough to share Buca’s take-no-prisoners recipe with his legions of adoring nodini fanatics:

Nodini (Bread Knots)
1 tsp (5 mL) dry active yeast
1-1/3 cups (330 mL) warm water
2-1/2 cups (625 mL) bread flour + more for dusting
1/2 cup (125 mL) semolina flour
1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) fine sea salt
Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing + 1/4 cup (60 mL)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh rosemary
Coarse sea salt (preferably Maldon)
In large bowl, whisk yeast and water. Let stand 10 minutes. Whisk again.
In another bowl, combine bread flour, semolina flour and fine salt. Slowly stir dry mix into wet until shaggy dough forms. Turn dough onto floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, 10 minutes, dusting with flour if sticky. Place in large oiled bowl — there should be room for it to double. Brush with oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 450F (230C). Line 2 large baking trays with parchment.
Transfer dough to floured work surface; cut into quarters. Cut each quarter into 10 equal portions. Cover with plastic wrap. Roll each portion into 6-inch (15-cm) rope. Tie into knot. Place on trays in 4 rows of 5. Cover lightly with plastic wrap. Proof on top of warm stove for 20 minutes. (While one tray is proofing, form the other.)
Place nodini tray on top of empty tray to double up (this prevents bottoms from burning). Bake on centre rack, one tray at a time, until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.
In small bowl, combine 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil, garlic and rosemary. Brush hot nodini with oil mixture. Lightly sprinkle with coarse salt. Serve immediately.
Makes 40.
You’re welcome.
New York

Chloe Coscarelli’s Vegan Restaurant Under Construction in West Village 

I’m completely nuts for New York (and have been ever since I was a kid) and cruelty-free cuisine, so when I read that vegan Italian chef Chloe Coscelleri (whose bomb apple cake transformed me into a bona fide Betty Crocker over the holidays) was opening a bricks and mortar restaurant in West Village, I was over the moon. I’ve been aching to return to the City That Never Sleeps since my last trip in 2013 and can’t wait to drag my New York friends to this place with me next time I’m in town! It’s currently under construction and, according to Chloe’s Facebook page, will be open for business in summer 2015.
Paris
Stella McCartney at Fashion Week A/W 2015
(Images by Marcus Tondo / Indigitalimages.com)
I’ve been a fan of rock star vegan designer Stella McCartney for ages, and during this week’s Paris Fashion Week, I was reminded why. McCartney’s Fall 2015 RTW collection featured several show-stoppers, including these faux fur coats that need to get in my closet, like, now.

According to The Guardian:

The long-haired synthetic coats, hand-embroidered with geometric patterns, will be sold with a specially made label proudly proclaiming ‘Fur Free Fur’ stitched somewhere visible, such as the wrist or the nape of the neck

Magnifique!

Houston

CEO Mug by Chic to Chic Paperie

Hot on the heels of International Women’s Day, this cheeky mug by Etsy-preneur Megan Adair of Chic to Chic Paperie is the perfect way for business-minded ladies to refuel whilst building an empire of their own.

New Haven

Elephantastic artwork by Yelena Bryksenkova

I’ve been obsessed with pachyderms for years and actively follow numerous animal rights campaigns to protect these sacred creatures from abuse in captivity and extinction in the wild. Needless to say, when circus conglomerates the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Baily Circus announced they were retiring their elephant performers, I did a little happy dance (though I agree with animal rights activist Natalie Prosin of the Nonhuman Rights Project – it’s not nearly enough). A couple days later I stumbled upon the whimsical, charming and completely gorgeous illustrations of Russian-born, Connecticut-based artist Yelena Bryksenkova. I would be content to splurge on each and every one of her prints, but Bryksenkova’s sorted depictions of miniature elephants are my absolute favourite.

Until next time!

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