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I have a soft spot for the Earls Tin Palace of my teenagehood, the hip new restaurant that opened up on 4th St just in time for the ’88 Winter Olympics, when I was 17 and just starting to go out with my friends for cheese sticks, potato skins and mocha Kahlúa pie. Where we’d go as a family when we ate out, and which was gutted by mud and rebuilt after the 2013 floods. Lately we’ve been going for happy hour – for $3 sleeves of draught, half price wine and $2 tuna tostadas. This week they launched a new series of cooking videos – with recipes – and asked me to check out the first (tuna tostadas!) and give it a go at home. It’s not the sort of thing I normally make, which is part of the reason I was happy to give them a try. There are enough elements in this recipe to dissuade the average home cook, but each isContinue reading

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This! I ate it all. To be honest, I didn’t really have a clue what bar-style pizza was until I happened to see a tweet from Serious Eats, and I happened to be starving, and the tweet happened to have an embedded photo of an ultra thin-crusted, cheesy, crispy-edged pizza in it. So I deduced that a bar-style pizza was more appy-sized, with thin, small wedges that were more convenient to eat with a pint. Thin enough to maybe fold in half, like people do in movies set in New York. I thought I had a handle on pizza – I have my go-to crust recipe that I know by heart and like to make a day ahead to give the dough a chance to develop some flavour. I occasionally swap in a batch of chewy no-knead bread dough. I toss it on the grill sometimes, and I know the cast iron pan trick, and I’m down with pita pizzas – a staple of ourContinue reading

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Like most people, I like to dip one kind of food into another kind of food. My goal, usually, isn’t to treat said dip as a condiment, but to trowel out as much as my dipping vehicle can structurally tolerate. (Crispy toasted pita chips are great for this – just cut them in wedges and bake them until golden. If you like, brush them with oil and sprinkle with dried herbs and/or salt first.) Unfortunately (or fortunately, however you want to look at it) the dip world is highly populated with mayo and sour cream-heavy dips of the French onion sort, which while delicious, don’t have much in the way of nutritional virtue. This Syrian dip of roasted red peppers, walnuts, garlic and pomegranate molasses, however, is worth treating like more than a condiment.

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As the daughter of a gastroenterologist and fibre enthusiast, I have long been a fan of the bean, pea, chickpea and lentil. My BFF and I schemed up and wrote a book about them, in fact. (That I may or may not have ever mentioned won a Taste Canada award for best single-subject cookbook that year.) So I’m very excited that the World Health Organization has officially declared it the International Year of the Pulse – which is kind of a big deal. And a great thing for our Alberta pulse growers – did you know they grow in the prairies? In fact, Saskatchewan is the world’s #1 exporter of lentils. It’s true! (I love this Resolution of the General Assembly, with its very sincere and official-sounding words leading into each reason the world should love legumes: Noting, Desiring, Recognizing, Believing.) Which is why I just got back from a couple days in Toronto – I went to help celebrate the launch yesterday, and catchContinue reading

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My social media streams are full of skiing and skating, making me want to follow suit and hit the trails/rinks/slopes, but equally wanting to chip away at that pile I felt sure I’d tackle in comfort over Christmas week, in slouchy socks with spiked coffee and a half-eaten Toblerone at my side. It’s nice to feel extra accomplished by getting work done while on holidays, with barely a trickle of email, when you don’t feel guilty getting distracted by twitter and Facebook and Instagram because hey, I’m on holiday.

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If you’re the type to devour a sleeve of salted crackers with cold butter, pull up a chair – these pre-buttered crackers are for you. To eat by the stack. I’ve always been a fan of homemade crackers – although most of us have made a batch or two of cookies in our lifetimes, we don’t tend to run toward crackers. And yet the dough is just as easy – often more so; and the results just as delicious compared to the store-bought boxed kind as homemade cookies are, gooey and warm from the oven, in comparison to the carboardy ones that often taste of their own packaging. Homemade is better – and cheaper still – and perfect for piling on cheese boards (party season coming up!) or nibbling in bed or crumbling into soup. I confess I ate the majority of these straight from the cookie sheet, and didn’t bother with dinner.

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My mom is a great cook. I didn’t realize this as a kid, when her focus was on cooking healthy 80s-style meals for her three daughters and aerobics-doing and squash-playing husband. For the most part, my memory clings to the meals I dreaded, and those wondrous packaged foods (Oreos! Fruit Roll-Ups! Wonder Bread!) I wasn’t allowed to have. Whether she evolved as a cook or my palate did, she turns out amazing dinner parties, but rarely emails with a recipe she insists I must have. My sisters and I all got an email after a meeting last week at which one attendee brought this ‘Greek goddess dip’, the dregs of which were retrieved from the bowl by finger once the veggies and pita chips were gone. “Trust me,” she said, “you want this recipe.” Although I’m already familiar with green goddess dip, I took her seriously.

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A completely divine dinner at Corso 32 (worth the drive from Calgary – for real) including spring pea crostini with ricotta salata, roasted pine nuts & mint, reminded me of the time I made such a thing, and how easy it was. And it occurred to me that some of you might have access to garden peas, and so sharing this now would be timely. Add arugula, lemon and Parmesan and spoon it over garlicky toasts; if you like, spread them thinly with soft goat cheese first. When I make crostini – I know there are hundreds of ways to make little toasts – I like them garlicky, but don’t like rubbing each slice with a cut clove. So instead, I peel and lightly crush a clove of garlic and drop it into a small ramekin of olive oil – the garlic infuses the oil, so that when you brush it on the crostini, it’s nice and garlicky. (You’ll then find yourself pouring the garlickyContinue reading

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This is a combo I never would have thought to try. But when you buy a watermelon the size of a small animal, you start seeking out new uses for it – usually this is not a problem, as watermelon is a popular snack around here, and makes for a fine smoothie or all-fruit slurpee (its high water content makes it easy to puree) and I’ve been known to make a batch of watermelon-mint mojitos and watermelon lemonade. It turns out it makes a fascinating addition to hummus – it lightens it, making it taste fresh and almost juicy, rather than heavy and creamy from the olive oil and tahini. Not that there’s anything wrong with traditional hummus, of course – but I found the combination of fresh watermelon and cilantro and spices made it a brighter, summery version of the usual, and easy to plow through with thin tortilla chips on the patio with a pitcher of fruity sangria.

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