There hasn’t been much cooking this week – there have been late nights and early mornings and an emergency dentist visit. I’ve been simultaneously catching up from being away in Austin and getting stuff done before we leave for California. Feel free to hate me – I might. We’re leaving Sunday, all of us, Ben included, and the boys are nearly beside themselves with excitement over going to Disneyland. It’s a requisite visit, isn’t it? For all parents of kids under ten? We go to San Francisco first, which I’m nearly beside myself with excitement over. (Note to self: wear sandals. No wool.) I’ve been on the afternoon show on CBC all week too, which means being in the studio until 6, with not much motivation to cook by the time I get home. On one of those nights-I’m not sure I can distinguish which-I ran some raw, tail-on shrimp from the freezer under warm water in a colander to thaw them while I gotContinue reading

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Check it out! I made fish & chips from scratch today. Before 8 am, even. I made chips the easy way – using that new method I learned from Cooks Illustrated. I put them on, sliced the fish, dredged and fried it, and the whole lot took under 30 minutes and made a great many people very happy. I made a wobbly mayo to go with, using a generous spoonful of grainy dill Brassica mustard. And the mushy peas – boil peas, then mush them with a dab of butter, splash of cream, and salt and pepper. Yes, I realize it’s not authentic, but it’s yummier than most mushy peas I’ve had.

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Feel free to hate me for what I’m about to tell you: we have too much crab. I did work for them, though; with late-night runs down to the dock in the cold rain to haul up the trap in the pitch dark, with a dead flashlight, chasing the spidery little beasts across the slippery dock and coaxing them out of the trap doors into the pink Easter bucket covered with butterflies that has become the Tofino crab bucket. All the while completely freaking myself out and trying not to get pinched. Have you heard the sound crabs make when piled on top of each other in a bucket and strapped to the passenger? Sort of half hissing, half clicking, claws creeping up over the edge in an attempt to pull themselves out. The sound I imagine giant bugs or aliens might make. But hey – for the price of a fishing license and package of hot dogs, I’m not complaining. This week I’ve becomeContinue reading

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Because Tuesday is Lobster Thermidor Day, of course. What do you have on Tuesdays, meatloaf? I was spared from having to commit lobster murder by the frozen seafood section of the Superstore, where good-sized lobster tails can be had for $8.99. I like to think I took that shortcut because at 5pm I found myself chatting to a friend beside the lobster tank, it was rush hour on icy roads and Mike had to go out at 6:30. I think in reality it had more to do with my not being too keen on the killing and dismembering part; of, as Julia put it, knowing they’re done when “the long head-feelers can be pulled from the sockets fairly easily”. Less appealing were her directions to “discard sand sacks in the heads, and the intestinal tubes. Rub lobster coral and green matter through a fine sieve into the mixing bowl, and blend into it the mustard, egg yolks, cream, and pepper.” Nah. Julia, I adore you.Continue reading

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I know – a little ridiculous, isn’t it? Lobster? Me? On a Tuesday of no real consequence? I don’t think I’ve ever bought and cooked a lobster tail before, but found myself picking up a frozen one yesterday in order to address the issue of a glut of last year’s frozen lobster in the Maritimes (which doesn’t seem to be affecting prices on the prairies at all) on the show this morning. Marketers are calling it the new bologna. (Which, I can’t resist saying, is baloney. Bologna is selling for $2-$4 per pound, lobster is still around $30+ for the frozen stuff.) If a couple weeks ago I went through a cake phase, I’m now tripping through a sort of dumpling phase; these food themes seem to come out of nowhere. I never plan them; if I do, they hardly ever pan out. This week I have made peroghies, two kinds of ravioli, pork wontons, spinach pasta (I suppose that doesn’t technically count, although itContinue reading

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I was feeling rather uninspired today, but felt I owed it to the avocado to make an effort. Then I remembered that a photographer from the Herald was coming at dinnertime to shoot photos of W helping me make dinner, and wow, it’s fortunate that we had a nice soft avocado for him to stand on his stool and cut, but now I kind of had to make something of it. More than avocado and goat cheese on toast, anyway. So I went to epicurious and punched in “avocado”. Then “avocado shrimp”, because I still have to make good on my promise to chip away at the freezer. And came up with this, which looked promising. As always, I tweaked it a bit, and since I couldn’t trust myself to not overcook shrimp under a broiler and my barbecue is still out of gas, I gave them a quick saute in the ever-present cast iron skillet you must be getting tired of seeing. It was pretty good; perhaps too exoticContinue reading

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I’m starting to feel guilty now when I repeat myself in the kitchen. But on Friday, when I made a vat of ceviche for the party, the thrifty part of me threw the halibut bones and shrimp shells into a pot of water and made stock. Which wouldn’t fit in the fridge, so today I had to come up with some use for it. I wasn’t in the mood for seafood chowder, and one of the best uses of great quantities of stock is risotto. (My parents are under the impression that risotto is made with plenty of cream, which is understandable considering it’s so creamy, but this creaminess comes from the starch in the rice coming out to meet the stock, and of course the Parmesan cheese you stir in at the end. You could also add a dab of butter at this point, but I generally don’t bother.) This batch was better than the last time I made it – I cut backContinue reading

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OK everyone, listen up. If you are at all a shrimp lover, or run with shrimp lovers, you will want to take particular note of this. This is food of the best kind – it requires about 5 minutes, is brain-numbingly good, doesn’t heat up the house, is perfect for company, and is really more an idea than a recipe per se. Tonight the dinnertime decision-making process went something like this: we rolled in from Edmonton at about 5, and since there was little in the fridge and neither of us felt like cooking, Mike had the pizza menu in his hand. Then I noticed a lone avocado in the fruit bowl – it had been rock hard when we left on Friday, but was now perfectly ripe. I told Mike to put down the phone and make guacamole – his one (and only, unless you count Kraft Dinner) specialty. There were still some corn tortillas in the depths of the freezer, so I pulled thoseContinue reading

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OK, what we really had for dinner was the last pickings of bison rotini, but I already told you about that. And W ate most of it, because we were still full from lunch; A came over and we sat out in folding chairs in the yard and drank cold pink fizzy wine and ate pad Thai, and that’s far more interesting. I had promised to make it, and then when I went to soak my rice noodles I discovered I didn’t have any. I suppose my mission to deplete a seemingly bottomless stash of assorted pasta and noodles has been successful. We had fresh Asian noodles though, so I figured that was close enough. Pad Thai is fast (if you get everything ready to go before you start), and a perfect way to use up leftover roasted chicken, tofu, or even pork, and if you keep a bag of shrimp in the freezer it’s easy to add a handful to dishes such as this.Continue reading

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