I’m fairly certain that in some previous life I grew up on a farm, with chickens and dairy cows and those wide-trunked, top-heavy trees that flop over fences and into creeks. Or perhaps I just watched too much Little House as a kid. We drove back from Kelowna yesterday, stopping in at D Dutchmen Dairy for our usual vanilla milkshake (like thick, cold cream – made with their own ice cream and a glug of whole milk from the Holsteins out back) and to stock up on dairy products to cram into the car for the last leg home. The sign on the barn said that each Holstein produces 8500 litres of milk per year (plus one calf) – math isn’t my forte, but that calculates to over 160 litres of milk per week, per cow. (Never mind urban chickens – I want to keep a cow in my back yard.) I fantasized for the rest of the drive about what I might do withContinue reading

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I feel like I’ve been slingshot (can that be used as a verb?) straight into mid January, and I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a grilled cheese sandwich. I’ve decided that if I’m going to eat bread, it might as well be truly fantastic – and preferably used to bookend other divine ingredients, bound together by melty cheese. There are few things I love more than a grilled cheese sandwich, but too often everything gets ignored but the cheese. Let’s start with the bread, shall we? This is a roasted garlic oval from ACE Bakery, with sweet, mellow roasted garlic right in the dough. It’s a good size – with enough structural integrity and a crisp crust. I used my friend Jessica’s trick – to mix grated Parmesan cheese into soft butter to spread on the outside of each slice, which creates an extra crunchy, cheesy exterior, maximizing those crispy edges.

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Shortbread and balls are the culinary keywords of the season, no? It’s the morning after (OK, afternoon after) our annual Polyester & Cheese Christmas party, wherein friends wear polyester and bring something cheesy, and our dining room table is so weighed down with cheese by the end of the night (as are we) that the next morning all you can do is come downstairs in your PJs, make some coffee and keep going. Polyester & Cheese is the official kick-off to the season of nibbling party food leftovers for breakfast, lunch and dinner (if you haven’t had warmed mince tarts for breakfast yet, I highly recommend it) straight through until Boxing Day.

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It’s about time for our mac & cheese of the month, isn’t it? I’m away this weekend, in Toronto and then Hockley, at the very first Food Bloggers of Canada conference, and so in my absence I left some frozen meatballs and a casserole for the boys (which I fully expect to find in the fridge on Sunday), and I’m leaving this mac and cheese for you. My sister texted it to me, having seen it on Food52… she knows there’s a good chance that if she texts me something, it will show up on the dinner table. (See: Shakshuka.) She always comes up with good finds – I should have her curate DwJ on the side. The genius of this particular mac & cheese, besides the fact that there’s no cheese sauce to make, is that it’s baked on a rimmed baking sheet (read: all surface area), making it all crunchy top, no soft innards. If you’re all about the cheesy, crispy bits, you’llContinue reading

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There hasn’t been much cooking going on this week – much of the past 10 days has been divvied between visits at two separate hospitals, driving between said hospitals, and queuing at their parkade exits. (Everyone is fine! Or will be. Don’t worry.) What I was supposed to be doing for the past 10 days was finishing up a book manuscript that’s due in Two! Weeks! Fortunately there has been enough to distract me from almost certain panic. One silver lining: I’ve been using up all those containers of frozen this and that, most of it unlabeled, that I’ve squirreled away in the freezer. The other day I actually found, without effort, enough space to put a loaf of bread in the freezer, which around here constitutes a small miracle. Some nights it has been a game of dinnertime Russian roulette, we’ve hit a couple drive thrus, and one day, having been present for the arrival of extra cheesy hospital food mac & cheese atContinue reading

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I apologize in advance for the photos, which don’t do justice to the deliciousness of this M & C. Thankfully, the winter solstice is coming, and then we’ll start to see more daylight after 4pm. So this mac & cheese. It came from a book I’ve had by my bedside for months, that I finally picked up the other night and read a story out of. It’s a compilation of the best food writing of 2006 (probably the year I put it beside my bed), and the story I read on this particular night was written by Julia Moskin for the New York Times. (I have to say – I like her photo better. More cheese?) The difference between this particular recipe and the bazillion of other macaroni and cheeses out there: you blend up the cheese and milk and then bake it with raw macaroni, rather than boil the noodles and mix up a white sauce with loads of grated cheese in it, whichContinue 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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This post could have been mighty impressive and star-studded, photo-wise – instead, I’m offering up some yumminess and asking that you use your imagination. Ready? So this weekend, if you haven’t already heard, I made lunch for Darth Vader. I did! For reals. Also – Sir Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc Picard) and the entire cast of Star Trek-Next Generation, and on Sunday – Adam West! And his wife, both of whom were lovely. Yes, I did in fact make lunch for Darth Vader AND Batman in one weekend, and yet my six year old boy is not sufficiently impressed with the fact that this is what his mom does when she goes to work. At least (very) occasionally – I should stress that this is not the norm. (Although in past years I have cooked for Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner – some cook for kings, queens and presidents; I cook for captains of the Enterprise and miscellaneous sci-fi stars. Also on the list: Elvira,Continue reading

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