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Sweet potatoes: I’m a fan. Also: butter, and maple syrup, and orange – getting them all together on one plate makes me happy. The warm orange-infused maple butter, which takes all of two minutes to get going in a small saucepan, could be drizzled over split roasted sweet potatoes, but grilling them adds a slightly charred, smoky flavour that seems well suited to fall and winter, even though grills tend to be summer appliances. Whether they’re labeled yams or sweet potatoes, go for the smaller, longer ones, so that they don’t take forever to cook through to the middle. All you need to do is toss them in a pot whole and cover them with water – you bring the lot to a boil and let it go for about half an hour, until the potatoes are tender. This part can be done ahead of time, if you want to get a head start on dinner, or have minimal prep work once the roast orContinue reading

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At the beginning of the year, my friend Jan and I started a series we called Gatherings, a monthly post based on a time we had extra people around our table, or in our backyard – there have been birthday parties (OK, a few birthday parties) and a big pot of meatballs, pecan waffles with wine smoothies and music-inspired cocktails. I was in Toronto on Monday-Tuesday and we got together to work on a project and as we sat on the hotel room beds, laptops and books and room service calamari and wings spread across both, Jan, who is far more on the ball than I, pointed out that we were due for a post in a couple days. Apparently it’s the last week of August. (People in Tofino gathering for their annual Lantern Festival at the botanical gardens 2 weeks ago.) So yesterday, Jan wrote about cousin camp – an annual summer thing where she has her nieces and nephews over for an epicContinue reading

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Grilled Brussels Sprouts 3
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I love this kind of non-recipe recipe. Once you figure out how to do it, it just becomes part of your regular repertoire, and there’s really no need to measure anything. It’s a pretty basic idea, and yet I’ve never tossed warm, charred Brussels sprouts in balsamic vinegar and honey before. The idea came from Leslie, who grills hers in a grilling basket until they’re soft and crispy-edged, if you’re up for firing yours up under all this snow. You get pretty much the same effect in a hot oven, with no need to go out in the snow.

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pumpkin stuffed with everything good 4
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How could you not stuff a pumpkin with everything good? Especially when it’s a week before Halloween and you already have foot-long icicles hanging from your roof. I met Dorie Greenspan last year in Austin. I recognized her son first, sitting on the arm of her chair in the hotel lounge. They had been (and still are) opening a series of pop-up cookie shops called Beurre & Sel, and I had more than a little cookie crush. Whomever I was with – someone blocked out of my memory by the brightness of that Dorie sun – introduced me, and we had a short chat, and I smiled all the way back to my room. The next evening I was at a party – with about 500 other people – when I spotted Dorie chatting with Jacques Pépin a few yards away. She turned and caught my eye, and the two of them came through the crowd, directly toward me. I assumed she was coming toContinue reading

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This! Want. I came across it while cruisin’ The Kitchn, trying to research the best way to open a fresh coconut, and the idea of it stuck – I can’t recall the last time I craved something as much that wasn’t a burger. And so tonight, even though I had been up since 4, had a sick kid in bed watching obnoxious cartoons and Mike called to say he was working late and would go straight to watch game 7 at the pub, and it would have been perfectly acceptable to eat apple slices and eggs on toast for dinner, I made this – just for me. I’m sure the original version – made with lots of lemon, garlic, ginger and sun dried tomatoes – would be perfectly fantastic, but once I got going I couldn’t not add a spoonful of curry. But it turned out more than a curry – there was more complexity to it, and the lemon was predominant. Next time IContinue reading

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I don’t have recipes for you today as much as I have ideas – but they’re good ones, I think. The boys and I spent a glorious Friday afternoon out in Dalemead, 20 minutes south of Calgary, at the home/farm of Darrel and Corrine of Winter’s Turkeys. I was working on a story and wanted to chat and check out their Thanksgiving flock, and planned it for a Friday afternoon to coincide with what we call “Fun Fridays” – a secret trip to a surprise destination that the boys look forward to on their Friday afternoons off school. (And so do I.) The car thermostat read 29 degrees, with not a cloud in the sky. Corinne made peach iced tea and lemonade, and ice cream sandwiches made out of thick slices of chocolate zucchini loaf and honey ice cream from Chinook Honey. She spread softened ice cream on one slice, chocolate ganache on the other, then sandwiched them together. Brilliant, no? Although I love iceContinue reading

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Friends! I am once again revived and inspired to get back into the kitchen. At least I was yesterday. Strangely enough, it was a zucchini that motivated me. Or several. I know, I only used up one of my eggs. I hard-boiled a bunch, and froze some, and now I think I may have left the hard-boiled ones too long with nary an egg salad sandwich. How do you tell when a hard-boiled egg is bad? I have no idea. But I do know now that I think I like these zucchini fritters, studded with bits of salty, oozy feta, better than potato latkes even. They’re crispy on the outside, soft in the middle, and a great use of raw zucchini, which you’ll be grating to make chocolate cake anyway, right? (Note: if you happen to have one of those two foot long zucchinis to tackle, once you cut into it you’re committed. But good news: you can freeze raw grated zucchini to add toContinue reading

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Tartiflette 3
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It’s Food Day Canada! It’s also W’s 7th (!!) birthday. (When I started this blog, he was two.) We wound up sneaking away to Tofino early, and so today’s food included coffee from Tofino Coffee Co., bread from the 600 Degree Bakery at the weekend market, homemade ice cream in just-dipped waffle cones at Chocolate Tofino, fish tacos from Tacofino and homemade chocolate cupcakes with candles to blow out. All in the name of celebrating local food, of course, and a birthday. Before we left, in an attempt to use up the last of what had an expiration date in the fridge, I made a tartiflette (a French dish from the Haute Savoie region of France traditionally made with potatoes, reblochon cheese, lardons and onions) using a small wheel of Oka and a recipe from my friend Aimee of Simple Bites. She shared her tartiflette for the July issue of Parents Canada, and I think this is the fourth time I’ve made it since. It’sContinue reading

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Crispy forked potatoes

There are plenty of delicious things to be done with a new potato. If you haven’t tried forking them yet, you must – cooked new potatoes are squished with a fork (or use your hand) to flatten them, then cooked in a hot pan until golden and crispy-edged. The quick lemony vinaigrette elevates them to a whole new level that’s perfect for summer supping. This is what I would make if I lived in a French farmhouse or Italian villa, and serve them outside on one of those long rustic tables that instantly make you think of Martha Stewart or Pinterest. With plenty of wine, natch. Either that or I’d serve them for dinner with pan-fried fish and sliced cucumbers on the living room floor to a little boy who needs a bath after cleaning up his Lego and picking up his socks.

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