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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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Yes, hello. I’m still here. It’s funny how a mere 4 days’ absence can feel like a decade when I’m used to being umbilically connected to this place. I have missed you guys, but didn’t want to be the little raincloud that popped up over your head every time you stopped by for a visit. (Also, I’ve been teaching in Red Deer the past two evenings, arriving home tonight and last at close to midnight. Yesterday, having been up since 5:30, I couldn’t bring myself to open my laptop.) To bring you up to speed on the past few days, I’ll give you the Coles notes: I survived Saturday, in no small part due to Pierre. A chili cook-off at the Ramsay Christmas Fair on Sunday, more sad news from friends, and the arrival of other friends from BC, whose coming provided ample excuse to make beef bourguignon and open some wine. Monday we baked dark fruitcake (the very best therapy, I’m telling you) andContinue reading

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So hey, it turns out I can cook Vietnamese. Who knew? There are some things that I have a ton of interest in eating, but none whatsoever in making. Vietnamese food falls into this category. So does Chinese food, Korean food; anything I feel like I have no authority to create. I mean besides the basics. I attempted homemade ginger beef once and for all the effort that went into it I’d rather call up the place down the street and slap down a 10 spot for them to do it for me. Besides, the mystique is taken away when you make something yourself. Do you ever get that sense that everything you make tastes like slightly different versions of the same thing? You know what went in there, and you’re intimately familiar with the process that made it taste the way it does. I’d rather focus my energies elsewhere and leave some things up to the pros. But then recently I had the occasionContinue reading

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Check this out. Sometimes this all-encompassing obsession with food has its benefits. (Excuse me, please, while I pat myself on the back for this one. Although I’m quite certain someone somewhere has already thought of it – they can get equal kudos for their obvious culinary brilliance.) So I was driving recently, or rather I was daydreaming in the passenger seat, imagining myself eating a meatloaf sandwich. Some fantasize about George Clooney; my mind wanders to meatloaf. Can you blame me, really? Meatloaf sandwiches are the best, aren’t they? I mean, they are more often than not my motivation for making meatloaf in the first place. That, and ketchup. So it occurred to me that one could morph meatloaf and burgers on the barbecue. Although I am a longtime fan of the grilled burger, I don’t make them often at home. (This could be partly due to my underlying prejudice against homemade burgers, instilled at an early age when my Dad would broil patties madeContinue reading

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Yesterday was Food Day, and the world’s longest barbecue. I caught wind of it last week – too late to really organize anything – I pondered calling a few neighbours over for an impromptu dinner when it occurred to me that cooking a nice meal on the grill for the three of us is just as legit as pulling together a block party. So I thawed a couple of beautiful bison T-bone steaks from a friend’s brother’s farm, cooked up some tiny new potatoes (which were then drizzled with cold-pressed canola oil from Highwood Crossing – Canada’s EVOO), sauteed some chard, and tossed a salad of lettuce leaves plucked from the pots on my back porch (YES! I DIDN”T KILL THEM THIS YEAR!), roasted beets (from another friend’s brother’s farm) and crumbled Fairwinds Farm goat cheese, drizzled with honey-balsamic vinaigrette. The bison steaks were unbelievable – so worth a try – but remember that they are leaner than beef (although these came across not oneContinue reading

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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

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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

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… and Beet and Purple Cabbage Slaw, Lentil & Barley Salad, Maple Squash Puree, Grilled Vegetables, Chocolate Chip Cookies and Mini Pavlova with Lemon Curd and Blackberries. That was last night, but we subsisted on leftovers today, in between a dozen or so dishwasher loads. Yesterday most of the ‘hood came over after our 6 hour community clean-up and the opening of a new park in Inglewood. By the time it was dinnertime we had all had too little sleep and too much sun, and the prime rib roast (left over from BT last week – yes, I froze it) had just gone onto the barbecue. (Remember my complete lack of time management skills?) The vat of sangria that arrived first did not help facilitate the dinner-making process, nor did prioritizing the simple syrup we needed to make mojitos with. (I know, you can use plain old sugar. We just wanted to be fancy about our mojito bar. Or more appropriately, the stickiest corner ofContinue reading

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I spent a few hours last night staring at/fiddling with this website, and editing some photos for an article I was working on, and then went to bed at a little past eleven, thinking I was doing well. And then woke up in the middle of the night realizing I had neglected to mention dinner. Again. One definite bonus to working as a foodstylist is at the end of the day, you generally have dinner. Some (most) people just throw stuff out after shows, having been out on display or whatever, but as you know I hate to waste stuff. Especially food. So last night was grilled pork shoulder steaks a la Ron. I have only cooked shoulder blade in the slow cooker or braised it in the oven; I would never have thought to throw them on the grill. I assumed they would be too tough. They weren’t. You have to navigate the ripples of fat, unless you are the type to devour thatContinue reading

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