Today would have been my Grandad’s birthday. If he were still around, he’d be 105. A few things you should know about my Grandad: He’s the only one I had. His name was Fred. Not Frederick – just Fred. He went to University at 90 (or thereabouts) to learn how to use a computer. If memory serves, he finished with 90%. And worried what he’d do if he needed that other 10%. He started a construction company, and built the Ford factory in Detroit, and Hiram Walker in Windsor. (Now they build wind turbines. He’d think that was pretty cool.) Whenever he said goodbye, he said “see you on the salmon can!” – to this day no one knows what that meant, but it seemed like a perfectly normal salutation to me as a kid. He always dressed for dinner, and sat at the head of the long dining room table that looked out on the Detroit river. Once my grandmother had served everyone, noneContinue reading

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I know I’ve shared plenty of granola here before, but I have a new favourite. This clumpy, crunchy granola is bound together with peanut butter and pure maple syrup. I KNOW!! The peanut butter adds a light crunchiness I’ve never achieved with other granola formulas – like Harvest Crunch, without the over-the-top sweetness. Next time I’ll venture into peanut butter and honey territory. I’ve had a big baking sheet of this on my kitchen counter all afternoon, and when I had to leave the house I got all panicky for a minute that I had to leave my new bff, and wound up filling a ziplock bag of it to tuck in my pocket and sneak handfuls of. You could of course spice it up with cinnamon or a pinch of ground ginger, but I kind of like it straight-up. Of course feel free to take liberties with nuts, seeds and dried fruit, too.

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I’ve been running a pretty tight ship, refrigerator-wise. I’m digging right through to the back, taking inventory. On one such spelunking mission I came up with a bag containing 6 overripe pears. Pale yellow and dented, they were far too delicate to travel any distance in a lunch bag. There were too many to grate into muffins or pancakes. My freezer, which unloads the same container of pesto and a few disks of pastry dough every time I open the door, had no room. So while W sat at the table and did his home reading out loud, I chopped them into a pot with some water, sugar and ginger and made a compote. Or jam. Or something that looks great in a jar and is delicious on toast. It’s not as sweet as most jam, which is why I felt the need to call it a compote. I dumped in a handful of cranberries from the freezer as an afterthought, which made it irresistiblyContinue reading

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Wait – don’t go. Hear me out. Last week I made a resolution to use the food I have in my kitchen, rather than go shop for more, deciding what’s for dinner depending on my mood or the (near-constant) desire to try something new. I go for milk and eggs and come home with bags full of whatever was inspiring or on sale at the time, and then can hardly cram it into my cupboards and freezer. I think this is pretty typical, considering the fact that walk-in pantries and chest freezers are standard issue in most houses. I hear a lot of people refer fondly to their fridges as that place produce goes to die. And it’s true – in North America (Canada very much included) it’s estimated that we throw out 40-50% of the food we buy. Half! Can you imagine the spending on groceries that takes place across the country on a daily basis? And that half of those purchases are tossedContinue reading

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I love butter chicken. In fact, I don’t know of many people who don’t. It’s the sort of lunch or dinner or midnight snack that’s happiness-inducing. There are few foods I really crave anymore, but butter chicken is one of them. Sometimes give in and go fulfill my desires an east Indian lunch buffet where I almost always shame myself on the stuff, with fresh naan. Contrary to its name, butter chicken doesn’t generally contain actual butter. Heavy cream, yes. It’s rich and wonderful and velvety, but not typically buttery. I made a batch recently, in response to a Facebook request to lighten a recipe that had – gasp – 1 cup of butter and 3 cups of whipping cream! This time, rather than overthink things or turn to my (still totally disorganized) bookshelf or laptop in search of what (some may claim as) the ultimate recipe, I just did it. Onions and chicken and tomatoes and spices – I might have been making cacciatoreContinue reading

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It was -33 today. I can think of no better argument for bringing out the slow cooker. Wait – there was a better reason. Kelsey and Phoebe and Cara (from Big Girls Small Kitchen – who’s new cookbook I became smitten with in early December when I was bedridden with a wrecked back) asked me to be a part of their slow-cooker love-in. It’s cold, and I love slow cooked food. Why not? They’re giving away some slow cookers too, if you want to get in on the action. They’re also swapping ideas and links and pins and such, if you’re looking for slow cookin’ inspiration, which if my inbox is any indication, a lot of people are. I must keep this short – have a story due today, which technically ends at midnight, right? There are so many possibilities when it comes to slow cookers. So many cool things to make, but I couldn’t see past a bowl of baked beans. These are thickContinue reading

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In a perfect world, I’d spend every day playing in the kitchen, experimenting with new ingredients and cuisines, making stuff and posting it here. OK, there would likely be a few other things involved in my perfect world, but wouldn’t that be swell? In the real world, as in other peoples’ worlds (and the opposite of so many others’ worlds), some days I find myself at IKEA looking for a new desk chair, because the stuffing on my old one has somehow worked its way to the outside of the upholstery. And on this particular day, having tried to reel in my appetite, I was starving at said IKEA visit, and thus cranky, and impatient in the as-is section, and then in line, and by the end of it there was no time to go get Swedish meatballs. But it occurred to me that IKEA doesn’t actually have a monopoly on Swedish meatballs. And if I put my mind to it, I might be ableContinue reading

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It’s a good day when you get to spend most of it in your PJ pants – until you have to upgrade to yoga pants to go pick up the kid from school, anyway – and in the middle of it someone drops by with a few pastries and a couple loaves of still-warm bread. I didn’t have any butter. But – tragedy averted: I had about a cup of cream. Making butter really isn’t a biggie, and yet although it’s been on my radar since we took turns shaking up that little container of whipping cream in elementary school, passing it from kid to kid until it transformed into butter (that really could be an analogy for a lot of things, couldn’t it?) I rarely do it myself. If I’m out of butter, I run to the corner store, or send Mike, or put it on the shopping list. I don’t think to make it, but it couldn’t be easier. Or better. (Then again,Continue reading

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This is what you do when once again you’re completely out of hours, and your intention to FOR SURE THIS TIME bake fancy fruit-studded loaves to bring all your friends and neighbours in the days before Christmas has once again fallen flat on its face. Honestly, don’t you know yourself yet? It occurred to me that the wonderfully easy, rustic and crusty no-knead bread could take on additions like cinnamon and raisins, or herbs and cheese, or figs and walnuts. So I made a loaf, just to see. It fused fast to the pot – something that has never happened before – so much so that I had to chisel and soak its bottom from the bottom of the pan. So for round two I used a piece of parchment, which worked brilliantly – not only did it contain the floury mess on the countertop, it looked quite charming in the pot itself, especially after the bread had baked and the parchment turned crackly andContinue reading

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