This is going to be my bubbly pink patio drink this holiday weekend. Fo sho. It’s a good thing you can’t clearly see my oh so foxy reflection in the glass, all gussied up for a Canada Day Eve night in PJ bottoms and an old shirt I only wear to bed since a slice of peanut butter toast landed goods-side-down on my chest. (Which kind of reminds me of this Flight of the Conchords video.) Thanks to my foxy ladyfriend for sharing her Grandma’s cocktail. Partly, I’m just envious that a) her Grandma is still around, b) she lives on Galiano Island, c) her nickname is Foxy Lady and d) she thusly has a boozy pink drink named after her. Mostly C. And A. Gwendolyn makes hers with vodka and soda water. Gin works. Or drizzle it straight into Prosecco. The only problem with the Foxy Lady (besides the obvious) is that it uses up your stash of rhubarb so that you may notContinue reading

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We drove out to Aldersyde this afternoon to visit Tony and Penny at Highwood Crossing Farm. W was ecstatic to have the chance to meet the very people who grow his very favourite food – oatmeal. Which he would opt for a bowl of anytime over most anything else. Tony and Penny and the friends who help them out on their farm grow oats, flax, wheat, rye and other grains in rotation, and cold press organic (non GMO) canola and flax oils. They stone grind their flour, make pancake mix and power grains – a truly whole-grain breakfast cereal made with hulled oats, millet, sunflower seeds and flax – and bake enormous batches of granola every Monday using rolled oat flakes, whole flax and sunflower seeds, cold-pressed canola oil and amber maple syrup. It was baking day today, and we could smell the granola in the oven, wafting from a little building in the field as we got out of the car. In their house,Continue reading

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This was just one of the edible highlights of a week that has ended on the couch with my laptop, some sangria (a good compromise between orange juice and wine-both!) and a box of Kleenex. And, ironically, Mike ordering pizza on account of the cold that has just snuck up and smacked me upside the head. From the inside. John Gilchrist, Tony Spoletini and I were enlisted to spend the week with Kristen and the BT crew in search of Calgary’s best pizza. Which meant a view similar to the one above at around 7 each morning – we visited Il Centro on Monday, Una on Tuesday, Tom’s House of Pizza on Wednesday and Without Papers on Thursday (the contenders were selected by vote, not by us), to sample a variety pies. A tougher job than I gave my gut credit for, actually. I could have very much used a nap each morning by 9. Without Papers in Inglewood won by a slice. This isContinue reading

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Why is it that we are expected to paint our own houses, build our own decks, do our own taxes and yet people are floored when I actually make something like burger buns from scratch? They don’t call for blueprints and hardware and lumber from Home Depot – only flour, water, eggs and yeast. Easy. I can’t build a deck, but I can make a bun. And isn’t that the true meaning of convenience? Not the availability of Wonder Bread buns at 7-11 24 hours a day, but the ability to make your own, from scratch, in about the same amount of time it takes to get in the car and drive to the store. (Minus rising time, of course, but you’re not actually doing anything at that point anyway, so it really shouldn’t count.) If you have burgers on the agenda over the next couple months, and I know you do, try mixing up a batch of these instead of those crusty generic KaiserContinue reading

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Right. Like I said, every time I bow out and plea too busy to post, I wind up posting more. Go figure. This bacon jam. I did it for Swerve last week, and then served it to Jim this morning on a grilled burger. (I made the burgers out of half ground sirloin, half Spolumbo’s chorizo sausage, squeezed out of its casing. Shaped the pattie around a thick square slice of old cheddar. Then melted another square of Gouda on top on the barbecue for good measure. To make the bacon jam, you chop and cook bacon, onions and garlic down with brown sugar and coffee and maple syrup until it turns into jam. Really. You should make this.

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Allison took pity on my cranky, overtired self and made a home delivery of finger cakes made with puff pastry, fig jam and bitter orange. They were still warm. Having made eccles cakes for fathers’ day she had leftover puff pastry, and decided to roll it and spread it with fig jam, then bitter orange peel, and fold it over thus. Brilliant, no? It goes to show there is a whole world of eccles cake possibilities out there, and you can cut them into any shape you want. I may or may not have shared. She even took a picture as she made them and emailed it to me. Aw. A warning: I may be brief and perhaps uninspired when it comes to recipes this week. (In fact, I may have been sparse the past two weeks already. Sorry ’bout that.) My lack of time management skills means I a) never get things done while I’m away, and 2) seriously underestimated how much cooking (andContinue reading

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Life is weird, isn’t it? Today I fed William Shatner, Max Headroom (aka Matt Frewer), and Tia Carrere, all at the same time. They sat around a table in the gold room at the Calgary Comic Expo and chatted (about the Vancouver hockey riots, mostly) like something out of a bizarre dream. I fully kept expecting to look down and be wearing no pants. Later, Jonathan Frakes, Felicia Day (who was totally lovely, and raving about her morning visit to Jelly Modern!), Adrienne Barbeau, Doug Bradley and Elvira – I can’t list them all, but there were about thirty in total comic/space/horror celebs and agents, mostly from LA. Tia had requested split pea soup. I wasn’t fully confident of my split pea soup-making abilities, but Wade, who swept in and was my cooking-for-the-stars wingman, picked up a couple of ham hocks while we were out of town, which made it easy. I half improved, half followed a recipe from Bon Appétit, and it worked. EveryoneContinue reading

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There hasn’t been much cooking this week – there have been late nights and early mornings and an emergency dentist visit. I’ve been simultaneously catching up from being away in Austin and getting stuff done before we leave for California. Feel free to hate me – I might. We’re leaving Sunday, all of us, Ben included, and the boys are nearly beside themselves with excitement over going to Disneyland. It’s a requisite visit, isn’t it? For all parents of kids under ten? We go to San Francisco first, which I’m nearly beside myself with excitement over. (Note to self: wear sandals. No wool.) I’ve been on the afternoon show on CBC all week too, which means being in the studio until 6, with not much motivation to cook by the time I get home. On one of those nights-I’m not sure I can distinguish which-I ran some raw, tail-on shrimp from the freezer under warm water in a colander to thaw them while I gotContinue reading

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You may recall I met Jacques Pepin last week, sort of. And he taught me how to cook this apple Charlotte. Well, there were a hundred or so other people in the room. What I loved about this particular demonstration of French cooking was that it involved a pan, apples, butter, syrup, and day-old buttered bread. And his fingers. There was nothing high-fallootin’ about it, no proper techniques. It did not smack at all of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, with all its trussing and duck deboning and gellée. I can’t even think of a cooking technique one might learn from this particular dish of apples in a pan, topped with toast, except to demonstrate that you can take the most humble of ingredients and turn them into something wonderful. That, and it’s all in the branding. (If you sauteed apples, put sliced bread on top and baked it, would you think to label it a skillet apple Charlotte? Sounds far fancier than theContinue reading

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