We’re in Jasper, back at the Jasper Park Lodge. (We’re usually here for Christmas in November – W walked in and asked where Santa was? And the Christmas trees?) This time the lake has no ice, it’s beautiful and almost green, and the chipmunks are plenty. We’re here so I can speak at the Alberta Library Conference tonight and tomorrow. We left before noon, and as I rushed to pack I made a batch of garlicky roasted potato salad with wilted kale and tahini dressing to eat in the car (and to use up the kale). But I made something last night I kinda want to tell you about. Sometimes when I check my mailbox, there are cookbooks in there. Not often, but sometimes. When I do get cookbooks (which always makes my day because I am that person who finds comfort in cookbooks and keeps stacks of them beside her bed-a habit Mike just loves), sometimes I write about them and sometimes I don’t.Continue reading

0
Share

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Here are a few I’ll let speak for themselves. It was snowy and wet today, barely over zero. (It still is – the clumpy flakes are blowing sideways across the roof past the window.) I was tired, and not much in the mood to cook. After dropping W at playschool we snuck off to have breakfast at Red’s Diner, a new spot on 4th St, beside the Rose & Crown. Great location. Great interior, nice people – the food came quickly, despite the fact that every table was full (we sat at the counter – a great vantage point for people-watching). Eggs Benedict is usually my restaurant breakfast of choice – something I’m unlikely to make at home, and a good litmus test for a new place. These passed easily. They got a quick turn under the broiler after being sauced, so that the hollandaise was pale gold on top. Good potatoes – real ones, not theContinue reading

0
Share

So I guess it’s about time I tell you about my brush with fame. Or are you entirely sick of hearing about Spock and would love for me to get back to our regular civilian programming already? I’m still a little spaced out over the whole thing myself, partially due to the hooplah that followed – four radio interviews and Herald story (watch for it today). Sorry you’re the last to hear it. (I settled in last night to write this, home at 10 from my cooking class, W tangled around me after a series of nightmares (no more Monster House!) and my (MacBook) laptop died! Or the screen did, anyway.. I could still hear it working away in the dark. But I couldn’t unravel myself to go to my desk. Even for you guys.) So yes, I met Leonard Nimoy. On both Saturday and Sunday, in fact – I made lunch for him on both days, along with one Malcolm McDowell, Sid Haig, aContinue reading

0
Share

(Click on the cookie.) It’s 6:40, I’m just getting ready to go over to CBC. I’ve been up since 4:30, calming W from a nightmare and then unable to fall back asleep myself. Why do birds have to be up so early, and then so loudly brag about it? Yesterday afternoon I was assigned 1000 words on How I Spent My Weekend (cooking for Spock et al) for the Calgary Herald, so although I felt like I was working on a blog post late last night, I was not. I would have continued on, sleep be damned (I don’t really mean it, sleep! I love you.) if I didn’t have a class scheduled this evening, which means that at noon I start prepping to cook five main courses for 30 people, all of which I will then prepare in front of them, in real time, and serve them all, from one stove and oven (not convection, even), which is exactly the sort of thing IContinue reading

0
Share

Oh you guys. I need to come back down from this state of giddiness that made me walk into a wall after Malcolm McDowell and Aaron Douglas hugged me goodbye this afternoon. I’m afraid I’ll gush so much you’ll lose your breakfast. So if you haven’t heard – and I haven’t been driving you crazy with my tweets – I somehow wound up spending the weekend cooking for Leonard Nimoy, Malcolm McDowell, Sid Haig, Aaron Douglas, Tahmoh Penikett and a bunch of the guys from Twilight. And I can’t wait to tell you all about it, but I won’t do a very good job of it now. I’m done. W is snoring beside me and I’m about to join him. I just set my alarm for 6:30, and I need more than 5 hours this time. I’ll fill you in tomorrow – when hopefully the photographer will send along pictures. I’ll leave you with my favourite big-batch-brownie recipe. Double this and bake it in aContinue reading

0
Share

For some reason, a bag of Cheezies (the real, Hawkins kind – they’re Canadian, did you know?) with some kind of big red wine has become my idea of heaven on a Friday night. (It’s important to have achievable dreams.) It occurred to me awhile ago that I could in fact make something kindasorta similar – I’m not sure revisiting these cheesy bits was altogether a good idea. So I’ve decided to drag you down with me. Yes, I’m aware that you know about cheese straws already. They were All That in the eighties and are still just as familiar, although most present-day recipes have taken a shortcut with frozen puff pastry dough. Trust me, these are worth tucking back into your repertoire; they’re as easy to mix and bake as a batch of cookies, and can be pulled into service for any occasion for which you are responsible for providing something to nibble on. The dough takes no more than five minutes in aContinue reading

0
Share

The CBC is having a book drive this week to gather goods for the CBC Calgary Reads Book Sale. A good spot to find old cookbooks – I went through the cookbook box as volunteers sorted hundreds of books coming in the front door and found a bunch of gems, including the Retro Food Fiascos cookbook, in which I found – yes I did – a crown roast of frankfurters. You cut hot dogs lengthwise almost all the way through, then open them like a book. Put them on a baking sheet and broil for a few minutes, and as they cook they curl back, making them the perfect shape to surround a pile of coleslaw. The original recipe had the cabbage tossed with poppyseed, mounded in the middle and a cup of boiling water poured over, then baked in the oven. With the dogs! I opted to make a slaw with white balsamic and grainy mustard – of course you could use potato saladContinue reading

0
Share

About those blood oranges. I found a few more of them. And so I turned them into marmalade. Because blood oranges tend to have a more mellow flavour and are less acidic, I thought they might get along well with vanilla. Orange seeds contain pectin, so if you pull them out before (and while) slicing the fruit and put them into a tea ball, you can simmer it along with the oranges and sugar to utilize the pectin and easily extract them afterwards. My oranges had no seeds. I went for it without, and it didn’t set. Not wanting to cook it to death and eventually produce candy, I cut an apple core into chunks and threw it in the pot – apples, and apple seeds in particular, are also high in pectin. I pulled the chunks of apple out, not wanting them to turn to mush (horrors!) in my marvy marmalade. It remained soft, but I’d always choose a runny jam that a stiff,Continue reading

0
Share

Blood oranges are on their way out, I know, but you can swap regular thin-skinned oranges to top these, which is what I used in the cake itself. You could leave the fancy slice off the top altogether and just make the cake. I just like the look of it, and the chewy-sweet baked slice winds up reminiscent of marmalade. When it comes to blood oranges, their appeal (to me, anyway) is their bad-ass name and crazy purpleness, their brand luring me in far more than their flavour. I’ve never really been blown away by the taste of a blood orange, but they do look great when sliced thin and laid atop orange pound cake batter. Don’t let the name pound cake scare you – this is actually much lighter than most, although they do retain that dense sandiness that makes them different than a plain old muffin. And this recipe makes lots. I did mine in some of those jumbo muffin tins that wereContinue reading

0
Share