, ,

When I started this place back in 2008 and posted dinner each night, it wasn’t always a recipe – because who follows an actual recipe each night? More often than not it’s a matter of shuffling through the fridge and constructing something out of what’s there – what needs to be cooked, revamped or salvaged, or what’s comfortably in your repertoire, like the scrambled eggs and brown beans my mom always fell back on when we were kids, or the eggs on toast. A lot of proper dinners don’t require a recipe – and when it’s the sort of thing that makes use of whatever scraps you have in your fridge, it’s not helpful to adhere to a strict formula.

4
Share
,

Having grown up in generation Earls, I’ve always been a fan of the chicken Caesar. Even so, it’s not the sort of thing I generally make at home. But I saw a technique years ago in which chicken was roasted atop chunks of bread to produce croutons infused with chicken drippings – which is essentially those crispy bits of stuffing you pick at and eat yourself as the turkey comes out of the oven, which is the very best part of Thanksgiving dinner. And you wind up with a whole sheet of it. So in this salad, which I learned from one J.O., you roast the chicken and the croutons together, which makes sense time-wise but also makes them spectacularly delicious, then lay a few strips of bacon over the lot to up the ante, pull and chop up the lot and scatter it over a platter of crunchy romaine, then douse it all in garlicky dressing and Parmesan. A proper Caesar salad it is.Continue reading

0
Share

What a week, guys. I don’t even know where to start. I started the week with Jamie Oliver in London, then flew back for a midweek dinner party at Rouge, where it was announced that my pals Sue, Elizabeth and I would be the next generation of the Best of Bridge ladies. For those of you who are not Canadian, or Western Canadian, and may not be familiar with BofB, it was a group of Calgary ladies who played bridge together and, back in 1975 on a weekend trip to the cabin, came up with the idea to write and self-publish their own cookbook. Their first hand-lettered, coil-bound book was a hit, and turned into a series – one that fed most families in Western Canada throughout the eighties. I grew up in the same neighbourhood, and was friends with some of their daughters, and have memories of sleepovers at which the Bridge moms would be testing recipes. Everyone in our community used the booksContinue reading

0
Share

I think I’ve been avoiding writing this post for the same reasons I’ve always avoided making fried chicken from scratch – I’m afraid I’m not going to do it justice, or do it right. Seven Spoons has been one of my favourite blogs, if not my number one, for as long as I’ve known food blogs existed. I’ve been waiting for Tara’s book to be conceived, written and released for almost as long – and now it’s finally here, in glorious 3D, and for lack of a non-clich√©, even more beautiful than I imagined. Pardon the poor/harsh late-night kitchen/bedside lighting. I’ve loved cookbooks literally since I was a kid and hoarded stacks of them at my bedside, and Seven Spoons has everything I always crave in one. For years I’ve aspired to Tara’s focus and precision, her ability to slow down, to commit time to quality over quantity. Her style and her eye and her taste – everything she makes, I want to eat. TheContinue reading

0
Share
,

This.! The computer added that exclamation mark. Really. It’s very intuitive. Did today need a pot of chicken and dumplings simmering on the stove? Mine did. It was all I could do to keep myself from devouring the lot, standing at the stove, and the only deterrent was the risk of incinerating my tongue. It may have been worth it. I tried to take pictures. I mean I did, but I could barely focus. The steam was making me ravenous, like that cartoon steam that winds out of delicious things and swirls up your nose. I snapped a few, grabbed a fork and took the bowl to the couch for some alone time. Then I came back for a rendezvous with the pot. This feels like the sort of thing I should have grown up with, but it wasn’t. My childhood never knew a dumpling. These are the deal deal – sticky dough you drop by the spoonful onto the surface of the simmering stew,Continue reading

0
Share
,

Those of you who have spent some time here (thank you!) know that I am prone to making recipes just because I love their names. (Case in point: this is really just a cake, but don’t you just want to make it immediately?) I’m not sure what ‘bang bang’ means in this case; it’s not that I actually want to off the turkey. (Except maybe I do. Enough already.) I’m a (big) fan of the turkey sandwich, on homemade buttered bread with cranberry sauce, but by this time in the program any turkey I have lingering in my fridge or freezer I’d rather not resemble the original meal, thank you. Also, I’m about ready for a break from bread and cheese, and maybe a big, crunchy salad – so long as it’s one with personality, and dousing it in peanut sauce with a bit of a chili kick instead of dressing can’t hurt.

0
Share

I’ve been cooking a lot of duck lately. It seems to be the new thing – and a good option when you want something special for Thanksgiving but don’t (for some crazy reason) want to cook an entire turkey. I love turkey leftovers, and so roasting a monsterous Big Bird is never a problem around here. Duck is a little different – it has thicker skin than a chicken or turkey, with a layer of fat underneath. The bonus here is that every duck comes with a free jar of duck fat, which will keep in your fridge indefinitely and make ethereal roasted potatoes or duck fat fries. The trick – to poke the skin with a bamboo skewer in a few places (without piercing the meat underneath – this is easy to do if you just pinch the skin and poke it through) to give the fat a few extra places to escape. Then start roasting the bird, pour off the rendered fat aboutContinue reading

0
Share
Lemon Chicken 1

One thing I love about my job is that it pushes me out of my comfort zone in small ways… if it were up to me, I’d leave Chinese food to the pros (and Vietnamese food, and Thai) – part of what makes it taste so good is the not knowing what exactly went into it, the experience of making ginger beef / lemon chicken / mu shu pork night after night in well-seasoned woks and skillets. Who am I to pull off a proper batch of lemon chicken? We talked about citrus on CBC this morning, and with Chinese New Year coming up on Friday, I figured I’d give it a go. And really, the ingredients that go into this are not at all exotic – you need not even venture down the aisle of the grocery store that has coconut milk and rice noodles and other no longer particularly extraordinary ingredients. It’s is really no more than chicken and soy sauce and lemonContinue reading

0
Share

Let me preface this by saying the above photo does not do this chicken justice. Also: I hope you don’t mind more photos of my PJ pants. ‘Tis the season for braising; short, grey and chilly days call for long, slow cooking. When so much time is spent puttering around at home, packing up decorations and weaning oneself off holiday chocolate, it’s the perfect time to slide a piece of meat into the oven and let it warm the house as it slowly cooks. Sure, you could put it into the slow cooker, but I love the dark stickiness you get from a pot, and the satisfaction of having it simmering in the oven while you pad around the house in your woolies. We made this on a day spent entirely in PJs. This chicken braised in milk with lemon, garlic, sage and cinnamon comes from Jamie Oliver – and if you look at his bird, it’s pretty gorgeous – dark and crisp and delicious-lookingContinue reading

0
Share