About Julie

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Have you been watching Jinhee on Top Chef Canada? She’s killing it. She always does. I met Jinhee years ago, when she was cooking over at Raw Bar, and everything she made was magic. She’s brilliant and humble and generous and kind, and I love that she secretly switched from accounting to cooking but didn’t tell her mom (back home in Korea) until she made it to the helm in one of the best kitchens in Calgary. While they were building Foreign Concept, she won the Gold Medal Plates semi-finals (which she went on to win, by the way), by cooking out of her apartment kitchen. (The restaurant was still under construction.) She has brought home the gold two years in a row, and silver the year before. Traveling through Vietnam last year, she fell in love with this Hanoi street dish – Cha Cá Lã Vong – cooked in a well used tin skillet over a small burner. It’s the only thing this particularContinue reading

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We all need emergency meals some days. I’ve been eyeing this – a soupy sort of one pot pasta that’s a staple in Rome, and the sort of humble home-cooked meal that intrigues me most about visiting such a place. (Although yes, I would also make the trip just for the pizza.) As with most staples of this kind, there are as many variations as there are people who make it. This particular version is cooked quickly on the stovetop, pasta and all, which allows the starch from the pasta to thicken the sauce. It works-truly. I brought it in to CBC this morning as an example of the sort of last-minute I-don’t-know-what’s-for-dinner emergency meal you can rummage through your pantry for and eat in 20 minutes rather than give in to take out.

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Hey, who loves cheese puffs? I’ve partnered up again with the Egg Farmers of Canada to make a video tutorial on how to make cheesy, eggy gougères for their EggcentricTV app, as part of their new spring recipe collection. Gougères are light, airy puffs traditionally made with gruyère, but I find aged Gouda a pretty amazing alternate. Gougères are fantastic for spring get-togethers – they’re great for nibbling any time of the year, particularly when there’s wine involved, but seem particularly well-suited to spring gatherings, and just as fitting for brunch as cocktails on the patio, if you’re lucky enough to be rid of the snow. If not, mix up a batch of these, open a bottle of wine and hunker down.

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This! Is what Easter weekend is all about. Sweet breakfast breads (waffles! crêpes! cinnamon buns! babka!) and trying to outsmart the nephews (who are smaller, bendier and wilier than I) for Mini Eggs. I gave cinnamon babka a go early – I’ve wanted to try it for awhile, and figured chocolate babka on top of the Easter hunt may be a bit over the top. Truth: cinnamon is not a lesser babka. Also! I had a jar of Rosen’s Cinnamon Bun Spread on my shelf, and it suddenly seemed as if it was made for babka. It was – if you can get your hands on a jar, a small one was perfect for two babkas, and I warmed it for no more than 10 seconds in the microwave first just to give it added spreadability. Otherwise, mix brown sugar, butter and cinnamon, and a bit of honey or maple syrup for added stickiness. Really, I just wanted to make another babka so I couldContinue reading

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My new favourite getaway is an escape to a not-so-back country lodge in the Rocky mountains – one you don’t have to access by ski or snowshoe with your stuff strapped to your back, but can in fact drive right up to, park your car, and be sitting in front of a crackling wood fire in five minutes. Although it’s spring break and my feeds are full of friends dipping toes into pools and sitting on beaches, to me this is the stuff dreams are made of. And it’s pure Canadiana. These not-so-back country lodges are a little off the beaten path (literally), and so tend to not be as front-of-mind as the usual Banff/Canmore/Lake Louise hotel destinations. I’ve been to a few, but once I started seeking them out I realized how much I love them, how they embody coziness and encourage unplugging, how (unless you ski – I haven’t for years) they offer a true hideout from modern day life. And while allContinue reading

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This was all that I salvaged from the show this morning – we all stood around the plate at the studio and stabbed at it with forks at 8:30 am. Alright, so it’s not really a *pie*. But it was baked in a pie plate and is technically topped with pastry, so I call it fair game to celebrate Pi day. Plus it’s unbelievably delicious, and outside my regular wheelhouse – normally I would have celebrated by clearing the last of the rhubarb out of my freezer, but David put in a subtle request yesterday for CBC this morning, and so I went ahead and made it. Which is why I have these photos taken on my phone in the dark of late last night and early this morning – not ideal, but you get the gist. I wanted you to see what the stewy part looked like, and the crumpled phyllo on top. It’s pretty straightforward, as far as braises go – the originalContinue reading

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I have never made a batch of hamantaschen, those triangular cookies closesly associated with the Jewish holiday of Purim, and although I’ve always been familiar with them, I can’t clearly recall eating one before today. Traditionally filled with thick poppyseed paste, date, prune or apricot preserves, they could contain just about anything — I’ve come across versions filled with marzipan and sprinkles, Nutella, and hazelnuts and apricots with a browned butter cookie base. You could, in fact, fill these hamantaschen with just about any sweet filling that could be contained by the edges of the cookie and would stand up to the heat of the oven — fruit compote, sweetened cream cheese or pie filling. Hamantaschen is like the cookie version of a galette, with sugar dough rolled and cut into circles, then folded over whatever filling you happen to come up with. (I used some blackberry jam from last summer, and some thick date filling I made in the same way I would toContinue reading

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Most people wonder why they didn’t come up with the billion dollar idea for the Post-it or the flask tie/ping pong door/hairy stockings or the Instant Pot, but when I was first presented with a bowl of butter chicken chowder, I wondered why the idea had never occurred to me before. I mean, butter chicken is all about the sauce, right? So why not cut straight to the chase and serve up a bowl of essentially butter chicken sauce with enough chicken, potatoes and peas to make it count as soup? Better yet – chowder, in all its hearty, creamy glory. I’ve been meaning to make a pot of this since the launch of the latest Soup Sisters cookbook, for which the 11 year old daughter of two chef friends came up with this creation. It’s truly sublime, and the sort of thing you can pull together quickly for dinner. Often when I make butter chicken I streamline things with leftover roasted chicken, and sometimesContinue reading

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I realize plums aren’t in season right now, but focus on what’s underneath: a crunchy shredded phyllo-wrapped ricotta cheesecake of sorts, which like other cheesecakes can be topped with just about anything, including whatever fruit you currently have in the freezer, simmered with a bit of sugar or honey and spooned overtop. I wasn’t sure what to call this – it’s not really pie, nor cake; I settled on torte (as have others) because it’s a sort of blanket term for a dense cake, and it is baked in a pan and served in wedges. What makes it unique is the kataifi, finely shredded phyllo pastry you can find alongside the frozen phyllo at any Middle Eastern grocery, and even in some grocery stores. It’s lovely to work with.

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