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Yes, I got sucked into all the hooplah a little bit. Despite the ridiculousness of it all – $454,000 for a dress – more than our house cost – for someone who would look completely stunning in something from Old Navy? Oy. But I saw this cake somewhere – it’s everywhere today – and loved that it was so… lowbrow. A big chocolate truffle filled with crunchy chunks of digestive biscuits that looks like stained glass or chocolate salami when sliced. If you love those chocolate covered digestive biscuits, multiply that by a thousand or so and you have this no-bake, no-cake cake. It takes about five minutes to assemble, then sets up in the fridge. If you can’t have the 10,000 ? wedding cake (more craziness!) you can easily have the groom’s cake. Considering the wedding cake itself was a fancy fruitcake covered with fondant, I’d choose the latter, anyway. (Note: this is somewhat thinner than it would otherwise be – I dropped aContinue reading

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Move over, cupcake. So there I was, midmorning, minding my own business, hammering away on something or other in the spare bedroom that is my office. I got up at 6 and went to the gym. I had coffee and toast with peanut butter for breakfast. I was good until lunch. Then came an email. Did I know about Jelly yet? Why no… do tell. I went over immediately. (It’s on 8th St and 14th Ave, kitty corner to Kawa.) Finally. Finally! A real doughnut shop. With none other than Grayson Sherman, who’s back from New York and the executive chef at Saint Germain, at the helm in the kitchen. Which means some local and organic ingredients. Chinook Honey, Vablella Meats, Vital Green and Lund’s Organic– carrots? Yes – in the carrot cake doughnuts with mascarpone frosting. Valbella bacon sprinkled over the maple dip with bacon. House-made marshmallows for the s’mores doughnuts. A chef’s special creation every Saturday. Doughnuts realizing their own potential. Not onlyContinue reading

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The one upside to eating less and letting your body burn some of its on-board fuel? Everything tastes fanfreakingtastic. One of the downsides? Arriving home from a long day that ended at the gym ravenous and trying not to nibble my way through enough calories to cancel out those 45 minutes on the elliptical trainer while getting dinner on the table. These are the times my brain becomes a ninety pound weakling easily shoved over by my bully of a stomach. Did I just date myself? I’ll tell you something though – I did not settle for just a salad. Greens with roasted beets (golden, this time), sugared toasted pecans and soft goat cheese that melts into maple-balsamic dressing is one of my favourite things. (Who needs whiskers on kittens?) And even when you’re hungry, it’s worth the extra minutes for toasted, sugared pecans. I want to show you something someone showed me years ago, and now I can’t remember who, but it was oneContinue reading

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What I’m digesting right now: this peanut brittle pie. With a maple crumb crust. (OK, an Easter mostly in pictures. And some words.) My mother-in-law came for dinner tonight. Her favourite sweet is peanut brittle, so I always make her a batch, using my Grandma’s recipe. I decided to turn some of it into dessert – a pie, made with ice cream, since she likes a dish of vanilla now and then. We didn’t have graham crumbs, but rooting around the back of the cupboard I came up with a sleeve of those maple sandwich cookies I get for Mike sometimes because he likes them, and so I ground them in the food processor. The icing in the middle is about enough for the crumbs to stick and bake together without adding melted butter. I added a drizzle of canola oil as I blended them, just in case. Maple crumb crust? I may not bother with graham crumbs again. After baking (350F for 7 minutes)Continue reading

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It seems you’ve been getting a lot of leftovers lately. (Figuratively speaking, of course. Or have you?) Although I’ve been cooking like mad, prepping and photographing in an almost-always-near-disastrous kitchen with an often grumpy sous chef-slash-dishwasher, I can’t share most of the results with you. Sue and I are in the final stretch of the bean book, finishing up edits and photos and working on the layout and design, and the recipes and images for Alice Eats are due at the end of April (which my calendar tells me is in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS) and if I’m not done I’m pretty sure Pierre will maim me. I’ve seen how good he is with a knife. And this week I’m working on stuff for Swerve, the Herald, Parents Canada, Readers’ Digest, City Palate and Family Kitchen. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking, it’s just that I haven’t been sharing. Also, I’m feeling a little tapped out when it gets to be dinnertime. This morningContinue reading

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I was invited to a swanky dinner. There were lots of fancy dresses. Also some corn shoots. It was a fundraiser for the Art Gallery of Calgary. Some of the best chefs in the city were there, many of them well known – from CharCut, Rouge, Rush, and the Chef’s Table. And there was a relatively new guy, chef Geoff Rogers, with his sous chef Vincent Maas and their team from Home Tasting Room. I always feel funny telling you about fancy dinners like these, but I do want everyone to know what an amazing job Home Tasting Room (which opened up early in the winter on Stephen Avenue downtown, across from Divino) did with our meal. (The guests were divvied up among tables, each served a unique menu by one of six attending restaurants – I think we lucked out.) We had local braised lamb neck ravioli, ahi tuna with tender pea and corn shoots, and duck breast over a perfectly cooked white beanContinue reading

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I taught a baking 101 class in Red Deer the night before last, which was awesome fun. We made pastry and butter tarts, browned butter blueberry muffins, two kinds of chocolate chip cookies (the test: softened butter vs melted – the melted came out predictably more dense and chewy), sunken chocolate cake with raspberry fool, bagels, pain au chocolat (almost) and biscuits. Dinner of champions, I say. The ladies at the bagel table turned out some beautiful bagels and pretzels – chewy from boiling and golden from baking. When they were done, they thought they’d try their hands at biscuits. They used Wade’s recipe. A biscuit is a pretty standard thing. Flour, baking powder, salt, butter, milk or buttermilk or cream. Sometimes egg. Sometimes a spoonful of sugar to sweeten or help them brown. The key when making a biscuit, as opposed to a yeast bread that must be kneaded in order to develop the gluten and give the bread structure, is to be gentleContinue reading

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I’ve been tardy writing this because I felt like I wouldn’t do the whole justice. Or I’d come across as overly gushy (I’m not afraid of that part anymore, but consider yourself warned) or not gushy enough. Our Sunday dinner this past weekend was truly one of the best of my life. I could tell by the fact that I spent much of it focused on not bursting into tears. (See? I’m doing it already.) Remember last week, when I rambled on a bit about the concept of a potluck, and offered up $25 gift cards to anyone who wanted to do something swell with one of them? Just to spread some happiness around at a time when the world seems to sorely need it? (I still have more, by the way, if you have an idea. Let me know in the comments and I’ll email you.) I got an email from Adrienne, who lives out here in Tofino, who was inspired to organize aContinue reading

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Remember that 5 lb bag of pink grapefruit I bought, committing myself to either eating them or coming up with something to do with them all? They came to Tofino with us in the back of the car. I haven’t eaten them here, either. So yesterday I grated the rind of a few others, then peeled away the pith, chopped their innards and turned them into marmalade. Here’s how I did it: I washed and dried 4 pink grapefruits and coarsely grated the rind on the box grater. Then I peeled away the white pith and chopped the fruit. I put it into a pot with 2 cups of water, brought it to a boil, cooked it for 30 minutes, then took it off the heat and set it aside overnight. The next morning I added 3 cups of sugar and brought it to a boil – without a candy thermometer, I cooked it until it thickened and looked syrupy. You could test a smallContinue reading

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