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Our longtime director at the Eyeopener, a man I’ve worked with for 6 or 7 of the 32 years he’s been at CBC, is retiring this week. Every Tuesday when I go to the studio, his first question when I walk through the door is – “got steak?” Generally I don’t (although he didn’t complain when I had prime rib instead), but this past Tuesday, being my last day with him in the director’s chair, I made steak. I brought him a nice, triple A, well-marbled ribeye to cook on the grill, but I also made steak bites – easier for everyone to eat in the studio first thing in the morning, and inspired by the steak bites I had at the Steakout truck a few weeks ago (you’ll find them parked beside MEC most of the time), which they served with a garlicky soy aïoli. I’ve had a recipe for Rockin’ Ronnie Shewchuk’s “Easiest, Tastiest Steak” on my to-make list for many years now,Continue reading

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Every year we have a Christmas party with the theme Polyester & Cheese. Our friends came up with that winning combo years ago at their Christmas party, and we adopted it. Who doesn’t love a party where the pièce de résistance is a table loaded down with cheese? And you have the opportunity to get decked out in totally flammable polyester? I wanted to take this recipe for a spin before the party – partly because I knew on party night it would be dark and I’d be distracted and might miss my photo opp, and partly because it was Grey Cup Sunday yesterday, which practically screams for cheesy, dippy things. I’m not much (at all) into football, but I’m very much into cheesy, dippy things. I got my skillet ready, all full of chunks of melty cheese, then topped it with a bam of chopped garlic and a few fresh herbs and a glug of olive oil, and slid it into the oven asContinue reading

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As a kid, I looked forward to the arrival of Canadian Living in our mailbox every month. I’m pretty sure I was the only one in my group of friends who read it. I cooked as much as I could, and read about food, and flipped through recipe boxes on my babysitting gigs. My idols were food writers; not the glossy celebrity chefs of this generation, but the home cooks who shared recipes in newspaper columns and magazines – the ones with the cheesy headshots you could write letters to and request recipes of, back when a Google search wasn’t an option. At a time when career choices seemed limited to Teacher, Nurse or Firefighter (and, crazily enough, my guidance counselor’s evaluation determined I should be either an English teacher or a DJ), I wanted to be Elizabeth Baird when I grew up. I even schemed to dye my hair silver and cut straight bangs, but my mom wouldn’t let me. I found comfort inContinue reading

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pumpkin soup w goat cheese
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It seems everyone loves a good squash soup recipe. While I’m out in Jasper, I thought I’d share a really simple soup I made last week – roasted pumpkin and pear – not earth-shattering, but simple and delicious, especially topped with crumbled goat cheese, which kept its shape and then melted into the hot soup. This version is sweet and plain, but you could spice it up with a spoonful of curry paste, and of course swap any thick-skinned winter squash for the pumpkin. Butternut’s nice, and easy to peel. If you find yourself with a particularly nubbly-skinned squash, roast it in wedges – the flesh will peel away easily once cooked.

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Grilled Brussels Sprouts 3
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I love this kind of non-recipe recipe. Once you figure out how to do it, it just becomes part of your regular repertoire, and there’s really no need to measure anything. It’s a pretty basic idea, and yet I’ve never tossed warm, charred Brussels sprouts in balsamic vinegar and honey before. The idea came from Leslie, who grills hers in a grilling basket until they’re soft and crispy-edged, if you’re up for firing yours up under all this snow. You get pretty much the same effect in a hot oven, with no need to go out in the snow.

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I’ve made these three times since my sister brought them for an October birthday brunch (a morning on which we could all get together to collectively celebrate 4 birthdays within a week) – sometimes stuffed with cream cheese, sometimes not. They’re delicious either way – dark and moist and mildly spiced – and fast to stir together, even at 4:20 as it was on one morning when I was on early traffic duty on CBC – this batter takes no time to whisk together and divvy into muffin cups before you hop in the shower. Your coworkers will thank you for it. I’m working out of a cushy office with a mountain view this week – out in Jasper for the 24th annual Christmas in November festivities; the first weekend group had left on Sunday, round two arrived yesterday afternoon. My sleep-in was foiled by the time change, but having irreparably woken up at 6:42 am, I got to work in bed for the morning,Continue reading

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For my sister’s birthday last week I baked a dense, unassuming chocolate cake, keeping it low in sugar and free of flour, which made it incredibly intense and perfect for serving in tiny slivers with whipped cream and sliced strawberries. It was almost like a brownie – perfect for those going wheat or gluten-free, or anyone needing a little less sugar. The original recipe called for 3/4 cup; 1/3 cup was plenty, producing the sort of cake that appeals to dark chocolate lovers. I started with a bag of Bernard Callebaut semisweet chocolate nibs. It’s not much to look at, but everyone commented on how good it was. Baked in a square pan, it could pass off as a brownie. Very nibbleable.

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