,

I realize plums aren’t in season right now, but focus on what’s underneath: a crunchy shredded phyllo-wrapped ricotta cheesecake of sorts, which like other cheesecakes can be topped with just about anything, including whatever fruit you currently have in the freezer, simmered with a bit of sugar or honey and spooned overtop. I wasn’t sure what to call this – it’s not really pie, nor cake; I settled on torte (as have others) because it’s a sort of blanket term for a dense cake, and it is baked in a pan and served in wedges. What makes it unique is the kataifi, finely shredded phyllo pastry you can find alongside the frozen phyllo at any Middle Eastern grocery, and even in some grocery stores. It’s lovely to work with.

31
Share

(Look at kindergarten W! Sniff.) I’ve always been a fan of breakfast. I don’t function well without it, and neither do kids. Particularly W – he’s lucky enough to have access to breakfast every morning before school, but 1 in 5 Canadian kids don’t. Among immigrants and newcomers, the risk is 2.5 times higher. This weekend, the Grocery Foundation launches their #Toonies4Tummies Campaign in support of student nutrition programs in western Canada and Ontario – the Foundation has raised over $88 million over the past 38 years, which has supported over 250 organizations that address health and wellness, including healthy breakfasts and snacks for school-aged kids. When kids start school with breakfast, it improves not only concentration and academic performance, but social skills and self-confidence – and there are fewer incidents of bullying.

43
Share

You know that saying, that you should do one thing every day that scares you? I’m not sure who wrote it, but I admittedly always scoffed at it a bit – healthy fear is a good thing, most often triggered for good reason, and pushing beyond that life-saving emotion isn’t necessarily the secret to a successful venture. But. Sometimes you gotta stop staring at your computer, blankly and incredulously taking in the endless barrage of awfulness and just get out and do something already. I posted something on my personal Facebook page a few days ago – an open wish that we could somehow reclaim those viral images of angry people bearing tiki torches and flood the internet with people gathered together, armed with casseroles and curries and baklava and pie — heading to a backyard barbecue or picnic. To have peaceful pluralist potlucks and picnics everywhere, and use those garden torches to illuminate conversation and real connection. To gather people in our communities andContinue reading

10
Share

Remember this photo of W taking a picture (with an old camera that didn’t actually work) of his omelet? Sigh. It was my blog header of my blog for a long time – although the omelet was cut off and a lot of people couldn’t tell what the black box was. Anyway. I needed a photo here because you gotta have a photo, right? And it relates to taking pictures and writing recipes and the stuff I do around here. Sometimes (oftentimes), people pay me to write stuff. Or to photograph stuff, come up with recipes, or make food look pretty so that other people can take pictures of it. This is a good thing, because I’m a professional food writer and the goal of any professional anything is to make a living doing that thing. Sometimes I get paid by magazine or newspaper editors (who get paid by advertisers) and sometimes I get paid cookbook royalties based on book sales and sometimes marketing boardsContinue reading

13
Share

There’s a very good reason I haven’t updated you on the kitchen situation in a very long time: it’s moving at glacial speed. It’s mostly my fault – every time an obstacle pops up, shooting gallery-style, I employ my ignore it and it will go away tactic, and it hardly ever does. Sometimes, these obstacles cause the process to actually move backwards, like that time I took a random handful of paint chips in various shades of white down to my oven, which is still in the showroom, to match the colour, and picked the one that was closest, which it turns out was not remotely the same, and so when they sprayed the cabinet drawers and installed them, they were a shade of beige silly putty. Who knew there were so many shades of white? I mean I thought I knew, but I didn’t really. And even when you do manage to choose a shade of polar bear/snowstorm/mashed potato that suits, once we getContinue reading

0
Share

Those of you who have been hanging around awhile may remember when we acquired a weeks-old black dog with white socks and a star on his chest – Lou, who we adore, even when he gets skunked and even though he hasn’t always been a good dog. (Fortunately he has outgrown puppyhood.) (Cuteness in puppies must be a means of self-preservation.) These days, Lou likes to wait until we’re asleep, then climb up into bed and stretch out the length of the bed, nestled into the pillow with his paws up over his head. Or sneak into my side of the bed when we go out, leaving fur and muddy evidence on my pillow. Living with him + the squirrel in the tree in our back yard is like living with Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. This spring, Lou was hard at work testing recipes for In the Dog Kitchen, which just arrived from the printer! (!!!) It’s so pretty. It’s making its wayContinue reading

2
Share

It’s going in the right direction! Slowly. Baby steps. This is the current state of my kitchen. We expected it to be a slow process, and it is, but I don’t mind the breathing room. A big part of the reason it took me so long to do a kitchen reno was the pressure to design my own kitchen. Yes, it sounds dreamy. Yes, I’ve often imagined what I’d do if I had the opportunity to redesign a kitchen space. But the pressure to make the right decision! It’s like getting a tattoo – not as permanent, I suppose, but expensive to do over if you don’t want to live with it. I can’t even make up my mind about what to order in a restaurant. Knowing what I like when I see it is different than visualizing what could be done with my own space, which is long and narrow and really fairly limiting. I don’t have a designers’ eye – my mom canContinue reading

0
Share

I realize DIY is the norm for most people – regular civilians are out there building their own decks and patching their own roofs – but we’re not as handy as we aspire to be. Even my parents are super handy in comparison, and designed and built their own house when they were ten years younger than we are. We are not those people. We’ve been staring at those chunks of missing drywall, wondering who we can call to come be our handywingman while we try to patch it up even enough to be flat, not pretty. Too bad they can’t be patched with dough or sheets of gingerbread. Knowing that everything had to go – we’re starting again from scratch – we began with the oven, since it was the catalyst that brought the kitchen down in the first place. I’ve known this was coming for years – I’ve stopped cleaning the oven, thinking we’re going to buy one any minute, and it hasContinue reading

1
Share

Guys, my kitchen is gone. In its place, bits of plaster, layers of missing drywall and cords hanging out from everywhere. I made my coffee this morning using water from the hose heated in the microwave. (But look what we found when we chiseled off the tile backsplash! Barbie flesh-coloured plaster covered with phone numbers! I want to call them all. Especially the one that says “drywaller”.) People have been asking how my renovations are going – and is my kitchen finished yet? – since I mentioned it back in March. And now it’s mid July and how it’s going is slow, and I imagine all those (very kind, thoughtful, well-meaning) people who are asking how my new kitchen is have never actually undergone a kitchen reno themselves. After kicking it down the road for a month or three, I had the bright idea when I left for Italy in June to leave Mike with instructions to tear out the majority of the kitchen (leavingContinue reading

0
Share