Wednesday, 21 May 2014 15:01

The Kylebucks story and panini hour

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The scene is a charming townhouse bordering a family park. It’s Sunday morning, just before noon, and friends and family are gathered around the table, tuned into CBC Radio. It’s almost time for Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Cafe.

We’ve all arrived half an hour early, shedding our shoes into a collective pile at the bottom of the stairs. Some of us are carrying a coffeecake. Everyone is enjoying the anticipation.
 This, after all, is not just any airing. This is the episode where Stuart himself is going to read the story about how my friend, Lori-Anne, had an epiphany when she got her lips stuck around a frozen Space Pop at a hot, very hot, outdoor Beach Boys concert.
That’s right. Lips. Space Pop. Beach Boys.
 It’s a story that we who are gathered, all already know, but this only heightens the sense of glee as we sit down to a listening party, hosted by Lori-Anne, her husband, Kyle, and the “Kylebucks Cafe.”
Kylebucks, for those who are lucky enough to pull up a stool, exists only at the kitchen island of said, secret, townhouse. And it came to be after a trip to London, where the local Starbucks sell panini. Marmite panini. To which a Canadian barista answered, “I’m sorry, sir, we don’t sell alcoholic drinks.”
’Nuff said.
So, while we are here for the story, and the company, we are also here for a promised assortment of panini, Kylebucks style.
To receive them, however, we’ve all been instructed to arrive with a tale which, in true Vinyl Cafe tradition, must be short and must be true. The rest is up to us.
Meanwhile, as CBC’s pre-noon scheduling winds down, the panini press heats up, and gourmet sandwiches, melty and savoury, are cut into fingers and served up on tent-carded plates.
There’s brie with black currant and pomegranate. Fake chicken (there are more vegetarians in this congregation than not) and red pepper. Pesto spinach and sundried tomato. Then, for something completely different, marmite spread and cheddar.
And with mention of marmite, a salty-savoury brown spread made from yeast extract and popular among Brits and vegetarians, story time begins.
There’s a busking story, a camping tale of backpacking sundry and the kitchen sink into the wilderness, a story of a corn-on-the-cob dowry and driving a Volkswagen Rabbit across the prairies with nothing but momentum and a prayer.
Then, as dibs are called on the last of the panini, Stuart comes on the air and a hush, then laughter, fills the house.
Lori-Anne’s story, frozen lips and all, closes to applause, and then there’s coffeecake. Plum.
It’s a scene that seems a throwback to pre-television days, but that’s the beauty of it, with family and friends gathered around the radio, talking about their lives. And with the addition of the Kylebucks Cafe, certainly, a good time was had by all.

Pear and Camembert Panini with Rhubarb, Rosemary & Honey Jam
4 ciabatta buns (those big, yummy, triangular ones from Costco), halved
2 ripe pears
125g wheel camembert (or Oka, if you’re more adventursome)
4 tbs Rhubarb, Rosemary & Honey Jam (or other favourite, such as fig)
Preheat panini press. Halve and core pears. Thinly slice lengthwise. Slice camembert (best done cold and with a serrated bread knife). Spread the bottom half of each bun with jam, top with sliced pears and camembert. Replace top half of bun and place sandwiches, one or two at a time, in press. Cook until cheese is gooey, then remove panini to a cutting board and slice into fingers. Serve immediately.

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