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I know, it’s just slaw. Or is it? Stick with me – there’s something shiny at the end. Usually I just wing it when I make slaw. Which admittedly is not very often. Usually it’s the Ichiban noodle kind, with the cabbage part out of a bag. But this holiday slaw came into my inbox, along with a gift I get to pass on to you, and the combination of thinly sliced fennel, radishes and cabbage with a maple-cranberry dressing inspired me to actually make it. We ate it with roast chicken, and because it was already getting dark at 3:45 (!!) I managed to get exactly one usable photo. Ironically, I left my food processor at JPL (d’oh!) and I miss it terribly. It would have come in handy to make this slaw. I do have a mandoline, but my fingertips are afraid of it – I don’t think I’ve touched the thing in years. So I sliced it the old-fashioned way, with aContinue reading

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This week needed to end with a wee ramekin of baked rice pudding, and some red wine, and a good book. If I had it my way all Sunday nights would wind down like this. The week culminated in a dinner party at the home of a couple who purchased me at a silent auction at a fundraiser a year or so ago, and so wanting to pull off a fun evening, I made curried sweet potato, carrot, ginger & red lentil soup, prawns in fenugreek cream, and enlisted their help (there was an element of teaching in the evening) in assembling a large batch of the Nenshi family samosas. For the main course: Vij’s chicken curry, chana masala, roasted cauliflower, curried peas and paneer, spiced beef short ribs, homemade naan and marinated green beans. For dessert, vanilla & ginger crème brûlée (great recipe, but I cut the sugar in half and it was plenty sweet) with Tonka bean shortbread. There were leftovers, and soContinue reading

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I love my job. I really, really do. But most days are a Tasmanian devil-like whirling dervish of recipe testing and photographing, and usually what we wind up eating for dinner was left over from some show or had just been photographed for a magazine. Ironically as a food writer, I don’t often work with ingredients when they’re actually in season on account of the lead time. On Canada day this past July I was making gingerbread and mince tarts. Today I was working on Valentine’s day stuff. Some days I just want to make dinner with no ulterior motives. Today I was working on a cocktail party story that involves meatballs, and so I took the opportunity to take a little detour and make pork meatball bánh mì – Vietnamese subs – that I’ve been wanting to try for about a year now. The recipe looks long but they’re simple to make – and in fact they could potentially be made ahead – theContinue reading

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I made dinner again. It was a chicken roasted in a pot. Again, something that seems simple and obvious and yet I was drawn in to the hominess of it – I fell for it like an afternoon advetorial, strapped into my WestJet seat and watching the Food Network on the back of the seat in front of me. I admit I’m preoccupied with the thought of the crispy skin that comes on a roasted chicken. It’s kind of the best part. Then again, tossing a chicken into a pot (on top of a chopped salad of onions, carrots and celery) and baking it with the lid on ensures incredibly juicy meat – so if that’s what you’re after, this version is about as foolproof as it gets. You can peel off the rubbery, fleshy skin and feed it to the dog. I’d prefer to not share the “after” photo here; it’s not enticing. So what Michael does is he returns the pot to theContinue reading

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I may be done with banana bread. For a little while, anyway. We just need a break from each other. I may just be tired of the avalanche of bananas each time I try to locate something in the freezer. And in the fall, I do love the idea of baking with squash and sweet potatoes. And I always get this sense that I’m somehow taking care of everybody when I have a loaf baking in the oven. Let’s keep that illusion going. This is – yes – more of a cake. It’s dense and moist, and crackly on top. Somehow baking it in a loaf pan makes it seem more suitable for breakfast and snacking, but if you baked it in layers and slathered it with cream cheese frosting, you’d have yourself a pretty substantial cake. I cut back on the sugar, but it’s still pretty sweet. I’m quite sure, however, that most coffee shop baking is loaded with the good stuff – butter,Continue reading

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I’m home. Sorry I’ve been MIA – I just spent 10 days at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge for their oh-so-awesome annual Christmas in November event. Hanging with the most amazing Anna Olson and her equally amazing husband, Michael. And of course Michael Smith and his new family. And Karl Lohnes, and so many others.. not least of all the 300+ guests who came up for a good time in each of the three packages – one last weekend, one midweek, and one this past long weekend, including Monday. It was, as it always is, a total blast. It included 13 cooking demos, buffets, fancy meals, wine & martinis, breakfast pastries with coffee served out of silver urns, forest walks, wine & martinis, warm cookies, turndown service, enormous stone fireplaces, wine & martinis, gala dinners with live bands and dancing and conga lines (I led one that gathered over a hundred the other night!) and singing Christmas carols and an outdoor swimming pool under theContinue reading

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Sorry if you’re suffering from squash overload. It is everywhere, sometimes overflowing their bins, but even the ugly, unidentifiable gourds really are so great for you, and worthy of our attention. Perhaps if I repackaged it on a pizza? with bacon and caramelized onions? Yes? Sold? There really isn’t much of a recipe here, I’m afraid. Dice some squash – whatever kind you have – a small one or half a large one – toss in a drizzle of olive or canola oil and roast on a rimmed baking sheet at 400F for 20-30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden. Cook a few slices of bacon, set them aside and cook a thinly sliced onion in the drippings until it turns golden. Crumble the bacon. Spread the roasted squash, caramelized onions and crumbled bacon over rolled-out pizza dough and scatter with mozzarella, Gouda, crumbled goat cheese or whatever cheese you like. Bake at 450F for 15-20 minutes, until bubbly and golden. Ta-da! The soft,Continue reading

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I thought you might like a pie. I actually made this for the pie party, and then again for something else, I think, or maybe I just made a mental note to. Walnuts make delicious pies – why should pecans get all the attention? And besides, maple and walnuts are a perfect ice cream pairing. With a filling you stir together in approximately two minutes, nut pies are as easy to make as pies get, and strangely satisfying to make in the fall. Like I’m channeling my inner squirrel.

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I have a baguette secret. And a browned butter secret. I’m sure they’re not secret to those who know about them already, but for those who don’t, I’ll totally share. On Tuesday when I made cheddar & ale soup for CBC, I also made fresh baguettes that required under an hour from start to out of the oven – but what everyone couldn’t stop talking about was the browned butter to go with. That show on which I watched Michael make ale soup? He also made no-knead bread, with browned butter – made spreadable. Because really, browned butter makes everything better – cookies, brownies, popcorn – but bread? Freshly baked? Slathered with browned butter – whipped and creamy, not a melted puddle? Hell yes. Here’s what you do: take a slab of butter. Melt half of it in a small saucepan on the stovetop. Once it’s melted, leave it there until it starts to turn nutty and golden – you’ll see the foam change colour.Continue reading

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