Part of heading north has to do with trying to check off the Golden Globe-nominated films that don't play in our one cineplex town. If it's not animated or it doesn't star Jim Carrey, Will Farrell, or Steve Carell, it just doesn't come here. Sometimes, it boggles the mind why certain films don't play locally, such as the one we saw tonight, Dreamgirls. With that cast? With Beyonce' and Eddie Murphy and Jamie Foxx?? Who knows. It was faaaaabulous, by the way. People actually broke out into applause after some of the big numbers in the film. And that Jennifer Hudson, WOW! What a stroke of genius in casting her as Effie! She'll bring you to your knees with "You're Gonna Love Me." Look for her come Oscar time! And to think, she LOST on "American Idol." That'll teach 'em!
Anyway, after the movie, my friends and I decided to continue our Smoked Meat Tour of Montreal. Maybe a month ago, we tried to go to Schwartz's Deli, reputed to be the definitive smoked meat establishment in Montreal. (Smoked meat, for the uninitiated, is a close kin to say, our pastrami or even corned beef.) We attempted to eat at Schwartz's, but the omnipresent line outside was too darn long. So we opted to go directly across the street to The Main Deli, reported to be the second-best smoked meat operation in the city. But tonight, we lucked out. It was very cold (currently, 11 degrees F.), and it was a bit past the ideal dinner hour on a weeknight, and there was no line at Schwartz's, and there were actually seats inside! It's a tiny little joint, and you have to dine family-style, sharing a table with other patrons, but we were excited just to have made it inside. So here's our review, comparing the two. The homemade french fries at Schwartz's were incredible, and personally, I was enamoured of their pickles (a brand called Putter's?), but all of us agreed that both the cole slaw AND the smoked meat were preferable at The Main! This is one of those classic Montreal debates like St-Viateur's bagels versus Fairmount's, but as for me and mine, no waiting in line at Schwartz's for us! Moreover, at The Main, you can get kreplach (dumpling) soup and authentic varenyky (like Polish pierogi, but of Russian or Ukrainian tradition), and you can use a credit card (helpful to us Americans)--so why wait in line out in the elements across the street?
Lest you think I'd end this post without a recipe, I'll share one silly one (no, not for smoked meat!). I am still enjoying some leisurely baking while I have a little more time off, and it doesn't get any easier or more childish than this one. But hey--school's still out, and this kid is still at recess! This is an older Martha recipe (via daughter, Alexis) for a jazzed-up Rice Krispie treat that also includes Cap'N Crunch and Froot Loops. Hey, I wonder what a chocolate version would be like--you know, with Cocoa Krispies or Cocoa Pebbles or Cocoa Puffs (or all three)? Hmm...I should try that next time!
9 tablespoons unsalted butter (you'll hate me for saying so, but margarine makes a more tender treat)
1 teaspoon salt (very important to cut the sweetness)
12 cups (2 1/2 bags) miniature marshmallows (I prefer large ones that have less of the powdery stuff that keeps them all separate as I believe it makes for a creamier marshmallow coating)
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
6 cups Cap'n Crunch cereal
6 cups Froot Loops cereal
vegetable-oil cooking spray
1. Lightly spray a 9-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan with vegetable-oil cooking spray; set aside. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add salt and marshmallows; stir with a wooden spoon until melted. Remove from heat. Add Rice Krispies, Cap'n Crunch, and Froot Loops, and stir until combined.
2. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. To prevent sticking, coat your hands with vegetable spray, and press the mixture evenly into the pan. Let cool, about 30 minutes.
3. Cut into 3-by-3-inch bars. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
*This recipe makes nine GINORMOUS, tall bars. I usually half this recipe and use a 9x13 pan.
*Follow-up: LOOK! I tried them with Cocoa Pebbles (about 2/3 Cocoa Pebbles and 1/3 Rice Krispies because I didn't have enough Cocoa Pebbles to do a whole batch), and I think this is my favorite combination ever!