About a dozen years ago, the Elbasi family immigrated to Canada from Turkey, opening one of the best eateries in town – Anatolia Turkish Cuisine in the Crossroads Market. They now have a bricks-and-mortar location downtown, and at their farmers’ market location they have the only phyllo sheeting machine in Canada. But more importantly, they’re a lovely family, cook wonderful food, and when I was researching different varieties of dumplings for CBC, walked me through how to make tiny manti – Turkish dumplings filled with lamb or beef, encased in a soft dough and drizzled with melted butter. On the day I was pestering them with questions, they happened to be making some for that evening’s iftar. They said tomatoes were typical, and when I came across some browned butter tomatoes, I couldn’t not make them.
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
I adore lamb, but am particularly fond of it ground, spiced with garlic, cumin, cilantro, coriander and salt, and grilled kabob-style. Despite my endless love for lamb kofta (a word that refers to all kinds of spiced, minced meat-balls, kabobs et al), I rarely think to make it, and I can’t fathom why that is. It’s meat on a stick, and it cooks in about ten minutes, and you can drag it through garlicky yogurt. At any rate, I was reminded how easy they were to make when I fired up the grill at 6:30 am to make them for CBC this morning, and cooked some flatbread alongside while I was at it, using the same naan recipe I’ve used for years – because I knew I’d be cooking early in the morning, I made the dough last night and kept it in the fridge to slow the rise.
I know, it’s not much to look at. And with everything (finally!) turning green, I imagine you’re in the mood for something a little more fresh-from-the-ground. But if I wait until it gets really hot no one will want to turn the oven on, and if I set this aside for the fall, I’ll forget. And I don’t want to forget this. It’s dark and rich and sticky and intense… and lengthier than my usual, I realize – but far shorter than the average cassoulet. You won’t have to wrangle an entire duck or roast a whole pig or cook three separate dishes, then combine them in an 18 quart pot and bake them together for seventeen hours to get where you’re going.
I know I make a lot of pizza around here, but you’ll want to bookmark this one, I’m told. We first had it about a month ago; it was a means of using up the last of the crispily cooked ground lamb I had used in a cassoulet on a night when we had just a tiny sliver of time between work and a school play. I rummaged around the fridge, using up bits of soft Boursin and goat cheese, and cooked up a bunch of kale. My sister took a bite and declared it the best thing she had ever eaten. I thought it was the tiredness talking – that eating it standing up in the kitchen as the boys got their coats and boots on to leave the house again somehow made it taste better. But I think it was really just that good. The other day, my sister took a bite of something and said -again- that it was the best thingContinue reading
One of the most popular search terms people use to get here is “leg of lamb slow cooker”. Apparently I posted about it sometime back in 2008, and there are a great many people who want to know how to cook leg of lamb in the slow cooker. I’m glad to know this – there are few better – or simpler – meals than a melt-in-your-mouth leg of lamb, slow cooked while you go about your day.
Ta da! (Honestly – I didn’t even arrange the rosemary in this photo – it just came out that way.) I’m really – for sure this time – bringing back Sunday Dinner. I don’t mean that in the sense of reintroducing it to the world – I know this is something people commonly do – and yes, we’ve been eating dinner on Sunday nights for quite some time, but the tradition of bringing the extended family around the table for something that might even require actual napkins (as opposed to the omnipresent roll of paper towels) is something we’ve fallen out of the habit of. Not that it ever was a big thing in the childhood of my memory – throughout our twenties and most of our thirties we’d go to Mike’s parents house for Old Shoe Cooked in Beer, which we’ll just say didn’t foster the grandest memories. I’ve always wondered what it might have been like to marry into a big, food-loving ItalianContinue reading
Really, we have to stop meeting like this. I was a very bad omnivore today. Breakfast was a cheesecake brownie (on the upside, it was from Brûlée) eaten with great guilt on the sidewalk in front of the gym I used to actually go to while waiting to cross the street. Honestly, why can so many calories be ingested in so little time? Then Mike brought me an ice cap, and later, fueled by panic and adrenaline over a looming deadline, I ate three chocolate chip cookies all warm and gooey from the oven. (They were for an event. Quality control is very important.) Dinner was a Moroccan meal, the theme chosen by the highest bidders on me at an event to raise money for Brown Bagging for Calgary Kids. (Yes, I was auctioned off – tonight we coined the term “charity whore”.) I couldn’t have been sold to nicer people – they had nice friends, even, and made nice pomegranate martinis. I made aContinue reading
Tomorrow night, I get to play chef at an outdoor barbecue in Glenmore Park. In preparation, one of the hosts dropped off some lamb for me to prepare. Some beautiful 4H lamb. Thirty-eight pounds of lamb. An entire lamb, more or less. Minus the identifiable bits. It’s all cubed for kebabs, but since there will only be 20 in attendance there’s a little surplus here to play with. I thought I’d grind some up in the food processor and make lamb meatballs as a starter. Rather than do my usual feta-oregano-currants-mint medley, the bottle of tandoori spice mix I just picked up (from a friend who just started his own spice company) caught my eye, and I shook a good dose of that over the meat instead, with a few cloves of garlic and a glug of olive oil, and then pulsed it to grind the lot. And so just to make sure it was edible, since it is technically for company, I shaped someContinue reading
Cook, cookbook author, writer, eater. Food columnist on CBC radio, contributing food editor for the Globe + Mail. ❤️ feeding people.