Hey guys! I can’t believe I forgot to share here that the second episode of Crispy Bits (the podcast!) is out – this time I sat down with self-published cookbook author Greta Podleski and we chatted about how she has managed to sell 2 1/2 million cookbooks on her own, without the support of a major publisher. How she managed to be the #1 best selling cookbook in Canada all last year, even though her latest book came out in October of 2017. It’s truly an amazing story.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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My post from the plane, which I didn’t manage to put up last night, getting home late and opting to spend my pre-passing out hour hugging and kissing W: Today I spent 22 hours on the road to get from Parma, Italy back to Calgary, Alberta. The day started far too abruptly when after getting to bed at 2 and barely sleeping, knowing my alarm was going off at 5, it didn’t. A couple of us were to meet the driver in the hotel lobby at 6 and I jolted awake at 6:12, going instantly from fast asleep to not even remotely awake yet flying around the room in a mad packing panic, throwing on clothes without a shower after having spent an epically sweaty day yesterday walking around the city. No shower, no coffee, and a 22 hour trek ahead – starting with a 2 hour drive from Parma to Milan, then flights from Milan-Frankfurt, Frankfurt-Toronto, Toronto-Calgary, with transfers and customs in between. I’mContinue reading

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