Chocolate Cake with Ermine Icing

I’ve been bombarded with requests – and rightly so! – for this ermine frosting since posting it in stories last night. Honestly, my world has forever changed. I’m what you might call a frosting fanatic – the one who seeks out the corner piece with the most flowers it can structurally tolerate – and yet it can be altogether too much sweet. Enter Ermine: an old-school frosting that was apparently the original frosting paired with red velvet cakes—the somewhat unorthodox method of boiling milk and flour into a thick, pasty pudding and then spooning congealed blobs into whipped butter and sugar miraculously produces an over-the-top smooth and fluffy, not-too sweet frosting that’s a dream to work with. I know, it doesn’t sound delicious. But it is.

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Charred Cabbage and Crispy Potatoes with Jalapeño-Garlic-Cilantro Sauce

I’ve been loving the charred cabbage dishes I’ve had at restaurants lately (try the charred hakka cabbage at Two Penny, charred cabbage with walnut vinaigrette and manchego at Ten Foot Henry, and the charred cabbage with Mimolette cheese and jalapeño cream at Pigeonhole), and figured it’s about as easy as it gets to make at home. I use thick wedges or inch-thick cross-sections of green cabbage and cook them in oil or ghee in a very hot cast iron skillet until they’re charred on both sides and tender all the way through (cover the pan for a few minutes if you need to, and you could even add a splash of stock or water to create some steam), but you could also drizzle it with oil and roast in a hot oven until tender and charred on the edges.


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I posted some photos of biscuits over on Instagram last week and everyone (understandably) lost their minds, including me – I do love a good biscuit, particularly one loaded with grated cheddar or cheese ends, and especially when that biscuit is used to bookend eggs and cheese or fried chicken or pulled pork. Pulled pork seems like a big production, but it’s really not – and in fact, like most braised dishes, requires far less actual work than a lot of other dinners out there. If you have a) a slow cooker, or b) plans to be around the house for a few hours, you can pop a pork shoulder in and let time + heat do all the work.
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Hey guys! I can’t believe I forgot to share here that the second episode of Crispy Bits (the podcast!) is out – this time I sat down with self-published cookbook author Greta Podleski and we chatted about how she has managed to sell 2 1/2 million cookbooks on her own, without the support of a major publisher. How she managed to be the #1 best selling cookbook in Canada all last year, even though her latest book came out in October of 2017. It’s truly an amazing story.

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Rose wine jellies

I figured some of you could use some pink gummies this week. Yes! Homemade gummies you make yourself! I can hear you eye-rolling, but it’s about as easy as making a batch of Jell-O. Bonus: you get to use wine, even more than they use in those fancy champagne gummies that cost $20 per quarter pound. Rosé has good colour and flavour, but these work with white or red too—a great way to use up the last cup in a bottle (it can happen!), or some prosecco that has gone flat. And if you don’t want to use wine at all, you can swap in your juice of choice – cherry is delicious. Apologies for the lone photo, but I’m realizing that a short and sweet recipe share is better than none at all. Amiright?

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Popcorn Chicken and Waffle Bits

Since it seems most of this part of the world is in a polar vortex, I thought I’d offer up a consolation prize to being stuck outside: popcorn chicken and waffle bits, from last year’s Brunch Life: Comfort Classics and More for the Best Meal of the Day by Matt Basile and Kyla Zanardi. Because I truly cannot think of a more suitable brunch scenario than a weekend with a high of -30.

This version of chicken and waffles is brilliant—bite-sized fried chicken pieces are far less intimidating to make and cook, and are perfect for nibbling with bites of crisp waffle, all drizzled with a spicy Sriracha maple syrup butter. I love that everything can be eaten with a fork or fingers, and you don’t have to balance your plate on your lap to maneuver a knife. And it’s very conducive to sharing, if you find yourself in the vicinity of other people in their pyjamas.
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Happy new year, guys! Technically it’s still a new-ish year, yes? Even though now suddenly it’s almost the end of January? Apologies again for the radio silence – I’m working on some new design tweaks here, or have hired some fine folks to as it’s one of the many things I’m almost completely clueless about, and of course there have been obstacles to be sorted out. Nothing seems to be as straightforward as it is in my mind.

Vij's Family's Chicken Curry

Except! This chicken curry, which looks like it has a lot of ingredients, and I suppose technically it does, but once you get to know it, has a very satisfying routine to it: build a thick, brick red masala with oil (or ghee!), onions, ginger, garlic and spices, nestle in some chicken and let it simmer. Vij once told me that at his restaurant people complain with some regularity that “the curry isn’t the same as it was last time”, and he says “it’s not supposed to”, because it depends on the day, the ingredients, and most notably the mood of the cook. I think of this every time I make it – it has become my go-to chicken curry, something I make with some regularity, no matter what form of chicken I have around.
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Chocolate Tahini Rugelach

You guys! This was one of my favourite cookies of the holiday season, and I wanted to share it with you while there are still baking days before Christmas. (Although, I’m a firm believer of the entire Yuletide season being a time to celebrate – we’re all so busy leading up to Christmas day. The Yuletide this year runs December 21-January 1. Perfect, right?0

So rugelach seems super finicky, but I’ve kind of discovered it’s an easy way to make fancy-looking cookies without a whole lot of effort. You roll the dough, which is this beautifully soft sugar cookie dough made with butter and cream cheese, into circles and spread them with apricot jam or Nutella or in this case, tahini, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and/or chopped nuts and/or chopped chocolate, cut the dough into wedges and roll them up, and they’re really perfect for making when you have little hands in the kitchen.

Chocolate tahini rugelach 4
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Pimento Cheese

You guys! I’ve been holding out on you. I had the most amazing pimento cheese at a Christmas party last weekend, and although I haven’t had or made it in years, it was like a rebirth into the world of pimento cheese. I had forgotten how much I love its intensely cheesy, mayo-y, briny deliciousness.

I immediately requested the recipe from the friend who had brought it, who had found it on the conversation thread of a makeup tutorial YouTube channel she frequents. Ah, the internet. Remember when you got recipes from your neighbours and small collection of cookbooks, or clipped it out of the newspaper? So this particular pimento cheese came from a woman who got it from her southern mother – pimento cheese is a southern thing, not surprisingly from the same era as the cheese ball. At its core, it’s extra-aged cheddar and mayo, with a hit of spice in the form of cayenne or chili flakes. I instantly asked my Facebook crowd if anyone made this and had their own formula, and someone pointed out that Dorie Greenspan’s latest cookbook, Everyday Dorie, which was happily sitting on my desk, contained a recipe for pimento cheese. And so the next morning, before I had digested the excessive quantities of pimento cheese I had consumed the night before, I set about making two batches – Dorie’s and Tara’s internet friend’s mother’s – for a little taste test.

Pimento Cheese
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