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When W was still a baby, just starting to pull himself up to toddle around the coffee table, he skipped directly from fruit and veggie purees to grown-up food, going straight for a platter of ribs at one Sunday barbecue and never going back. I have photos of him sitting out in the grass in his swimmers, happily knawing on a pork rib in the sun, sauced from ear to ear. This is how I feel when I get to eat ribs – carefree and happy, loving the opportunity to eat with my fingers, and usually covered with sauce. W will still choose ribs if he has any say in dinner. It’s on the top of all our lists, but best eaten when it’s warm enough to sit in shorts and flip flops, leaning in over the rib in hand, letting any drips land on the grass, then washing up in the sprinkler afterward. Ribs are the ultimate summer food, best served in the greatContinue reading

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So over the Stampede, we had a few get-togethers. All involved food on a stick – deep-fried or not. I tweeted out a picture of these bacon-wrapped peroghies on a stick minutes before putting them on the grill, and the twitterverse screamed out for a recipe. You won’t need a recipe per se, but here’s how you do it: boil peroghies of your choice, drain them and set them out on paper towel – if they’re too wet they’ll be slippery to wrap. Cut regular bacon in half crosswise, and wrap each peroghy with a piece of bacon. Soak some bamboo skewers and poke them through, making sure it goes through a corner of the bacon on each end of the peroghy. That’s it. I had some Spragg’s sausage, and so sliced it and slid a piece onto each skewer at the end. You could do this, or not. Or thread two peroghies on each stick – whatever works for you. Preheat your grill andContinue reading

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Salads are not my forté. I realize their potential, and creative additions often occur to me (cubes of cold frittata! soft goat cheese rolled in ground spiced nuts!), but I’m not great at building one, unless it’s the grainy, beany kind. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But my greens – they’re growing! I need to keep up. I’ve recently discovered the appeal of the plated salad – perfect for just three, and just as perfect for more – you start with a long plate or small platter, make a nest of greens and layer interesting things on top. I always wind up with too much when I fill a salad bowl, and this way the greens are there, but don’t take over the party. I have the BBC to thank for this one, although I did make some changes – I like roasting potatoes rather than boiling them (you don’t lose nutrients to the water that way), and I swapped the pine nutsContinue reading

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This! It’s like butter chicken and chewy charred naan all in one bite. We’re in Windsor this weekend, Mike going to the Indy on Belle Isle and W and I catching up with relatives and visiting places I haven’t been to for far too long. We ate Windsor pizza last night – it’ll be Pat & Hank’s tonight, but the night before we left we had this butter chicken pizza to use up some roast chicken, tomatoes, cream and cheese before leaving town. I veered from the original recipe, not wanting to open more tomatoes (I had half a 28 oz can) but wanting to use the last of the salsa – it worked perfectly, adding some heat without using cayenne. You really could wing this, using leftover butter chicken (is there such a thing?) or your own recipe, then spread it on pizza dough and bake at high heat or grill with plenty of melty mozza.

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Now, it could have been the appetite I worked up at the gym, intensified by then not nibbling at all between the time I got home and managed to get dinner on the table. (Which was, to be honest, only about 20 minutes.) But this was really good. And easy. A bag of slaw would have streamlined it even further, but at this moment we have no fewer than 4 full-sized cabbages hogging a good quarter of our fridge space, begging to be used. This week’s theme just may be slaw. (More possibilities than colcannon.) This particular slaw is sweet and gingery, with no oil. (You could add some, if you like.) The original requested red jalapenos, which I don’t expect many to have on hand (nor make a special trip for), and because the comments unanimously reported it to be too hot, I, being of wimpy palate, demoted the jalapenos to a pinch of dried red pepper flakes. Easy, sufficient, and it made removingContinue reading

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I’ve mentioned before how nice it is to have a chef living next door. I was out pilfering the Nanking cherries that line our street – oddly some of the bushes have been stripped by birds, but others are heavy with ripe fruit. Wade comes out and casually mentions that he has some maple whisky and Nanking cherry barbecue sauce in his fridge. Of course he does. There’s nothing wrong with Nanking cherry jelly, of course. Or cherry lemonade. But I had never considered Nanking cherries as a vehicle for barbecue sauce, in place of tomatoes. Brilliant. My mom declared this the best rib sauce she’d ever had. It’s flavourful but not overly sweet, and it doesn’t have that harsh smokiness so many barbecue sauces come with. Good news! Wade offered up his recipe. Which is probably smart, since he likely doesn’t have enough jars in his fridge to go around. Thanks Wade! If you can’t get your hands on some maple whisky, I’m sureContinue reading

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I know, lamb chops cost about as much as platinum. But they taste a whole lot better. If you’ve ever been to – or heard of – Vij’s in Vancouver, you’ll know that these lamb popsicles must be pretty sublime, being their signature dish and all. A lamb popsicle is a Frenched chop – take a rack of lamb and cut between each bone and you have wee chops on the end of long, elegant bones – perfect finger food. And if you sort of scrape the meat down the bone, nudging it all toward one end, you have a neater lamb popsicle, which you can then cook quickly on the grill or in a hot skillet. And then there’s the option to serve them with this fenugreek cream for dipping/slurping – it doesn’t get much better.

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So hey, yes, I’m still here. It seems we have some catching up to do. The past week has been more of a blur than usual – I’m happy to announce though that the as-yet-still-unnamed bean book has been jettisoned off to the publisher. I’m pretty sure we got everything in there. We hit send just after 11 on Monday night, having been up since 4 am to take over traffic duties on the Eyeopener that morning, and having accidentally, prematurely and sleep-deprivedly sent an incomplete manuscript about six hours earlier. I’ll spare you the details of those six hours. I’m not sure I remember them anyway. At some point my friend and neighbour brought over a bag of cheese buns from Glamorgan Bakery, just because. Bless her. Yesterday morning on CBC we talked about South African street food, which is something I admittedly knew very little about – it turns out South Africa is quite known for their street vendors, so it’s a particularContinue reading

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It turned out to be a mighty fine dinner tonight, if I do say so. And a bit of a miracle that it even came to be. At 5 I had no dinner plan in mind. Rummaging through the fridge unearthed a nice little organic chicken I picked up at Bite yesterday for $7 (!) that needed to be cooked, and decided for some reason to finally try chicken under a brick. Or – chicken under a skillet. (Who has bricks?) Why is it that I decided to learn to butterfly a chicken and attempt a brand new recipe when everyone was hungry and it was closing in on the 6 o’clock news? I think partly because I feel a bit displaced from the kitchen these days – constantly writing about food, yes, testing stuff but not cooking a proper dinner as often as I’d like to lately. My sister is back in the hospital, the boys were filthy, and I was dropping balls allContinue reading

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