The other day, as we were driving somewhere or other, W announced that he had an Idea. “You should teach cooking, mom!” he said excitedly. “Like you should be a teacher, and show people how to cook!” I explained that I did this already, at a few cooking schools. “I know you teach grown-ups,” he said with an eye roll, “I mean kids. You should teach kids how to cook.” Not a bad idea, I told him. “You should teach me how to cook,” he added. “You haven’t taught me yet.” Which took me by surprise – I’ve been cooking with him, showing him how to chop and flip pancakes and make over-easy eggs and whatever else happens to come along, since he was so little he had to sit on the countertop to knead pizza dough. But what he had in mind was a more structured cooking class, where the students sit and listen and the teacher demonstrates. I told him I’d teach himContinue reading

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We spent the long weekend at home, puttering. Staring at gaping holes in the ceiling and barely (if at all) functioning kitchen appliances and broken windows and walls that are easier at this point to paint than to clean and making a ginormous to-do list for it all. Considering the domino effect that starting to change this and that has on a house, it seems kitchen renos are not only unavoidable, but imminent. Which of course means no kitchen for awhile. TRY NOT TO PANIC. We got used to the idea of eating out by doing it this weekend. Since we were mostly trying to find homes for things, cleaning/organizing/yard work-ing, I didn’t cook a whole lot, but did use up a big bunch of spinach by making gnudi – sort of like larger, lighter, lumpier gnocchi – and sauteing the little dumplings in browned butter. Spring, hello. I love gnocchi, and it’s even fun to make, without the need to own and manipulate aContinue reading

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It’s about time for our mac & cheese of the month, isn’t it? I’m away this weekend, in Toronto and then Hockley, at the very first Food Bloggers of Canada conference, and so in my absence I left some frozen meatballs and a casserole for the boys (which I fully expect to find in the fridge on Sunday), and I’m leaving this mac and cheese for you. My sister texted it to me, having seen it on Food52… she knows there’s a good chance that if she texts me something, it will show up on the dinner table. (See: Shakshuka.) She always comes up with good finds – I should have her curate DwJ on the side. The genius of this particular mac & cheese, besides the fact that there’s no cheese sauce to make, is that it’s baked on a rimmed baking sheet (read: all surface area), making it all crunchy top, no soft innards. If you’re all about the cheesy, crispy bits, you’llContinue reading

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Weekends are made for waffles, don’t you think? And brunch is one of my favourite reasons to gather; I like doing it at home even better than going out. You get to stay in your PJs – or upgrade to yoga pants – and woolly socks, and lounge about with whomever you feel like being with first thing in the late morning. I find it almost impossible to not make waffles; the plain kind are fine, but this past weekend I upgraded ours with toasted pecans, and then started playing around with fillings and sauteed bananas and salted caramel. There are so many ways to dress up a waffle. And since you have to cook them one at a time anyway, it makes sense to accessorize them as you go – and giving everyone a little something to do in the kitchen somehow makes a party more fun. After all, they’re going to be in there anyway. So I mixed up a bowl of theContinue reading

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I may have to start a Mac & Cheese of the Month club, considering how many formulas I have lined up on my must-make list. We can call this the official Mac & Cheese of March. March to it. For the past few weeks, Alice has filled any spare time I might otherwise have had – the manuscript was due at the end of February, and I’m now plodding through approximately half a bajillion photos to edit by mid-March. Since meals around here are often whatever I happen to be working on at the time, there have been plenty of tea party leftovers for dinner. Yesterday the boys I live with requested something other than a jam tart – specifically mac & cheese, from a box. I almost relented, but then decided to give this recipe a try – I made the whole thing in a skillet, which allows you to cook up any number of ingredients, from bacon, ham or sausage to veggies (thinkContinue reading

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If I was more motivated by food than love, I’d have married into a big Italian family, one known for its long bustling Sunday lunches anchored by a big pot of something red bubbling on the stove. I keep meaning to just pretend I’m Italian and adopt the tradition, but then Sundays get away from me. One of my favourite gatherings of last year came about from a text I received on a Saturday afternoon as we walked in the dog park. It came from friends with two little girls (and two large dogs), both of whom work full time and play in multiple bands and are generally as busy as anyone I know. It said: “if you guys are free tonight, want to come over for spaghetti?” It was so spontaneous! So casual! Such a great way to get together without advance planning and emails and checking of schedules! We in fact did not have plans that night, and so we grabbed a bottleContinue reading

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There hasn’t been much cooking going on this week – much of the past 10 days has been divvied between visits at two separate hospitals, driving between said hospitals, and queuing at their parkade exits. (Everyone is fine! Or will be. Don’t worry.) What I was supposed to be doing for the past 10 days was finishing up a book manuscript that’s due in Two! Weeks! Fortunately there has been enough to distract me from almost certain panic. One silver lining: I’ve been using up all those containers of frozen this and that, most of it unlabeled, that I’ve squirreled away in the freezer. The other day I actually found, without effort, enough space to put a loaf of bread in the freezer, which around here constitutes a small miracle. Some nights it has been a game of dinnertime Russian roulette, we’ve hit a couple drive thrus, and one day, having been present for the arrival of extra cheesy hospital food mac & cheese atContinue reading

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I apologize in advance for the photos, which don’t do justice to the deliciousness of this M & C. Thankfully, the winter solstice is coming, and then we’ll start to see more daylight after 4pm. So this mac & cheese. It came from a book I’ve had by my bedside for months, that I finally picked up the other night and read a story out of. It’s a compilation of the best food writing of 2006 (probably the year I put it beside my bed), and the story I read on this particular night was written by Julia Moskin for the New York Times. (I have to say – I like her photo better. More cheese?) The difference between this particular recipe and the bazillion of other macaroni and cheeses out there: you blend up the cheese and milk and then bake it with raw macaroni, rather than boil the noodles and mix up a white sauce with loads of grated cheese in it, whichContinue reading

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Once in awhile all I want is a shallow bowl of really plain spaghetti with red sauce – like the kind you get in the can, only not as mushy and with more flavour – the sort of thing I imagine would have been served in an Italian neighbourhood eatery in Manhattan in the 1950s. Something I could mop up with crusty, buttery bread and wash down with red wine. Something uninterrupted even by meatballs. (Which isn’t to say a batch of good meatballs wouldn’t do really well here.) Having been MIA for the past three dinnertimes, and about to leave town for 10 days (yes, the boys will join me for some of it) I simmered a pot of red sauce to somehow maintain my presence when Mike inevitably makes spaghetti for himself and W for the next few dinners or so. I know, they could easily open a jar and be perfectly fine, but simmering a pot of sauce somehow alleviates some ofContinue reading

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