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I’ve been staring at these photos for a good twenty minutes, wondering if I should bother sharing them – they don’t do the dish justice, partly because I left the broccoli on the stove a bit long while doing other things, and partly because mulched broccoli isn’t particularly photogenic. But it was delicious, and a totally different thing to do with broccoli. I’ve been mildly obsessed with the concept of broccoli rubble since reading about it over at Deb’s – the rough chop of it, the quick sauté in garlicky oil, the shower of Parmesan. (And maybe because it sounds a lot like Barney Rubble?) I’ve always been drawn to just about any kind of grainy salad – I figured broccoli would hold up to chewy wheat berries quite well, and some salty crumbled feta, and lots of pepper, and a fried egg. I wish I had some walnuts to toast and toss on top. I devoured this thing, and I don’t regret it.

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Is it weird that I get more excited about winter salads than the summer ones? I love hardy salads that give my jaw a workout. (At least part of me is working out, right?) Every winter I vow to keep a grainy, beany salad in my fridge to prevent myself from living on bagels and raisin toast (a hazard/benefit of having my office in the spare bedroom), and in fact, these kinds of salads actually improve after a few days in the fridge. Also- feeling virtuous over lunch is enough to keep me feeling more or less on the ball during the afternoon, sometimes propelling me out to do a power walk. Eating healthy things begets eating healthy things (and doing healthy things). I even organized my office this weekend, which was a monumental task. I blame the salads. I love adding chopped apples to salads – not only are they always around, they add sweetness, tartness and crunch to just about any salad, fromContinue reading

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I forgot how much I love a creamy, sloshy rice pudding. It’s the sort of thing I make semi-regularly, but never with a recipe; I resurrect leftover cooked long grain rice, or use short grain if I make it from the beginning, but it’s always thick and diner-style, and I’m usually the only one to eat it. I forgot how delicious a runny rice pudding is when it’s ice cold; like melted ice cream, sweet and rice-flavoured, and in this case spiked with cardamom. It’s fantastic. The recipe comes from Noorbanu Nimji and Karen Anderson, a couple of gems who just released a new cookbook – A Spicy Touch – the theme of our cookbook club (Bite Club!) the other night. It was hot, approaching 30 in the afternoon, and something in the back of my mind reminded me that cold rice pudding spiked with cardamom would be a very good idea. Of course they had a recipe for it.

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I haven’t made an enormous batch of granola for awhile. I had been missing it. Not so much the jarful on the shelf as the panful on the stove, nibbled from by the small handful over the course of the day. And then I was reading up on turmeric, that brilliant yellow powder that gives curry blends its colour and which appears to be a thing these days – another ingredient people are beginning to recognize for its nutritional prowess and find new uses for – and it occurred to me it would be a good addition to my usual granola. In its powdered form, it’s easy to work with – although fresh turmeric, if you haven’t seen it, looks a lot like ginger – it’s a rhizome; in the same family, but slightly smaller and with brilliant orange flesh once you scrape away the ultra-thin skin – much like an intense carrot. It’s not as sinewy as ginger, and so easy to grate orContinue reading

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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.

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I know – it’s even more cliché to compound quinoa with kale when January is still in single digits, but having eaten my way through most of the holiday leftovers, I’m now attempting to fill my bowl with things that are better for me than cheese and chocolate. (OK, I’m keeping the cheese.) Pomegranate arils (the juicy seeds, which you can eat whole) are common in grainy middle eastern salads, which I find gratifying to put together, and I’ve found if I have some quinoa (or barley, rice, wheat berries) precooked in the fridge, I’m more likely to use it. Don’t think of it as leftovers so much as dinner insurance. Or your own homemade convenience food. A ripe avocado in the bowl demanded to be used immediately, and kale is good and cheap right now – I keep buying bundles, then have to use it in order to reclaim precious fridge space.

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I came back home from Miami with a pound of grits in my bag, just because I could. Grits are popular in the southern states – they’re made of cornmeal, simmered until thick, just like cream of wheat. (Did you love cream of wheat as a kid? I still do. I rarely have it, in order to preserve that taste of nostalgia.) You can simmer your grits with milk to make it creamier, and add soft roasted garlic or minced jalapenos to spice it up, or a big handful of grated aged cheddar in this case, to provide a bed for buttery, spicy shrimp. I always forget how quickly I can cook up a pan of shrimp – with butter, garlic and a shake of dry barbecue rub, they’re done in under three minutes. How much faster can food get? And while I have a pan buttery and hot, it’s too tempting to crack in an egg to catch those flavourful bits. More drippy yolkContinue reading

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I know I’ve been pretty vocal about my love for barley around here. I love that it’s local, high in fibre, dense and nutty and chewy, and great for simmering with dry lentils for a hefty salad. I love that you can buy it in flour form to make pancakes and chocolate chip cookies and chocolate cake. And I love that so many farmers grow it around here. So when Alberta Barley asked if I would help spread the news of their very first cookbook, Go Barley: Modern Recipes for an Ancient Grain, I was more than happy to. It comes out next month, but I have an advance copy to give away – remember when we did Free Stuff Fridays? I miss that. So even though it’s Tuesday, let’s get back on that horse. Some of you know the drill – leave a comment below, and I’ll try to remember to make a (random!) draw at the end of the week.

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I just realized granola recipes outweigh cinnamon bun recipes on this site about 8:1. I’ll work on closing that gap sometime this week, when our agenda will mostly consist of couch sitting, tobogganing and playing Connect Four. Meanwhile, have some more granola. I made a couple batches spiked with pumpkin, molasses, cinnamon and ginger for a friend to give away to people she likes – hers was nut-free, with pumpkin seeds and shredded coconut, but when I made some for myself I threw in some pecans. It’s crazy simple – all you do is mix old-fashioned oats with nuts (if you like), seeds and coconut, then with a slurry of pumpkin, brown sugar, honey, molasses and spices – make it as spicy (or not) as you like.

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