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Taking on Student Life : Montreal Edition

Written by: Jacqueline Greaves

Shopping, cooking and eating in Montreal: Leading the student life

·      Marketing and cooking together is an amazing and fun way to unite family and friends.

In the last five years because our daughter Caterina, otherwise known as Cat, decided to go to school in Montreal, Canada became a part of my life. Otherwise for me it was part of the Commonwealth or our neighbors to the north. I am a Europhile, so trips to our neighbors was not first on my agenda. Then Cat moved there. Not saying I went a lot, but when I did, I cooked for her friends. Shoes and clothes are not my thing, but markets and grocery stores definitely are. My recent last trip was bittersweet as Cat was preparing to return to live in New York. Her friends were anxious that she was doing so, and there were other emotional bits and pieces that were going on as well. So in that case I cooked even more.

Montreal is a pretty cool place to eat if you are a student, and even if you are not. It’s a really fantastic multiethnic city with fabulous restaurants to choose throughout. There are many all you can eat sushi, Korean grills, poutine locales and of course ladies’ night where as long as you each pay $20 in food you can drink endlessly it seems from the provided list of cocktails and wine for approximately 7 hours straight. It even has the one place in the world where I beg to be taken to eat a salad! These types of places did not exist to my knowledge in New York during my student days. Then like my group of college friends, Cat’s really like a home cooked meal and share whatever they have, with one bringing salad, another wine, rice or pasta, vegetables or cookies, etc. One of Cat’s Montreal friend made pizza for us with the incredible tomatoes and eggplants she picked up in the market. It’s all about cooking together and sharing an incredible meal.

With my arrival, we went shopping and I had the best time with our little multicultural group of ladies from varying countries exploring the Jean-Talon Marché in the Italian section of the city. Cat, Lucrezia, a friend from Rome, and I were busy jabbering away in Italian, and were stopped by an Italian vendor who pointed us in the direction of the local Italian supermarket for pasta and other ingredients to go along with the amazing plum tomatoes I had picked up for a truly ridiculous price. I roasted them in the oven (tossed them in my spaghetti and topped it off with toasted fresh breadcrumbs), along with deliciously scrumptious carrots, eggplant, peppers, zucchini and golden squash. I adore roasted vegetables of all types with fresh herbs. So easy to fix and to clean up at the end. We even went to an olive oil store to pick up Italian oil. Cat was, “Why?” My point of view is that we were cooking Italian so no other oil would do. If you are cooking Spanish, then Spanish oil is the right choice, and that goes for other olive oil producing countries and their cuisine as well. I am the same way with books. If I can read it in the original language, definitely. Otherwise it is a different book for me – a sort of “lost in translation.”

Montreal musts:

1.     Markets

Jean-Talon Marché

7070 Henri-Julien Avenue


Atwater Market

138 Avenue Atwater


 2.     Salad

Mandys Salad Bar

2067 Rue Crescent

3.     Coffee and Pastries

Clementine Café (Turkish/Mediterranean)

1490, rue Sherbrooke O

4.     Restaurants

**Restaurant Le Passé Composé

1310, boul. de Maisonneuve E

**Lawrence (British)

5201, boul. St-Laurent

(514) 503-1070


Santos Tapas Bar

191, rue St-Paul O

Vanilla Cookie Recipe

Vanilla Cookie Recipe

Blog written by: Jacqueline Greaves

Another gloomy and rainy day in New York. Yesterday I baked over 16 dozen cookies and not sure what to do today. However, perhaps this will make your day a little lighter. Here is my vanilla cookie recipe that everyone asks for, even though I make other more intricate and equally flavorful cookies. I guess we all miss our grandmothers's kitchens. I think it is the homey and warm feeling of  the vanilla aroma. Do use good vanilla if possible. I love the Madagascar.

Vanilla Cookies

Makes 24 – 90 cookies depending on the cookie cutter size.

Preparation: 15 minutes to mix

                     ½ hour in the refrigerator

                     Cutting out and baking approximately ½ hour


2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

¾ cups granulated sugar

3 egg yolks

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt


In a bowl, using an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the Vanilla Extract and mix well (Add lemon zest and Lemon Curd here if doing the Lemon Cookies).


Sift together the flour and baking powder, then add salt.  Add to the butter mixture a little bit at a time at low speed, and beat well until well mixed.


Divide the dough into 2 equal parts.  Shape each into a ball. Flatten and wrap in parchment paper, and refrigerate for at least ½ hour.  The dough can be prepared up to 3 days ahead, and kept in the refrigerator.  Let it soften slightly at room temperature before continuing.


Preheat oven to 350F.  You will need 2 – 4 nonstick cookie sheets, or line baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface - I use parchment paper without the extra flour - roll out one piece of dough.  Cut out desired shapes.  Transfer the cutouts to the prepared baking sheets. Continue until all the dough is finished.


Bake until the cookies are golden and slightly darker on the bottom about 8 minutes.  Turn the tray halfway in the baking process.  Remove the cookies and let cool for about 1 minute. Transfer the cookies to the wire rack and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.



Variation:       Lemon Cookies

                        Substitute 2 tsp Lemon extract for Vanilla Extract

                        Add the zest of 1 Lemon       

                                    Add 2 Tbsp Lemon Curd