cauliflower fritters 2
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I know, it (kind of) defeats the purpose of eating cauliflower to deep fry it and serve it with lemony mayo. (Then again, if you’re going to eat fried food, you may as well get a cauliflower out of it.) Parka season = beer batter season, right? And when everyone has planted themselves on the couch for a hockey game or movie or rousing game of Munchkin, they inevitably want to eat something. And I like it when that something can fall simultaneously into multiple categories: 1) salty, 2) dippy, and 3) edible with fingers. (And truly, a platter of crudites and dip never gets a welcome response on a snowy Saturday night.) Cauliflower florets have a lovely creamy texture and mellow flavour, but if you’re like me, once you have a bowl of batter and a pot of oil at your disposal, you may go a little nuts, deep-frying anything you can find in your fridge. (I imagine a zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced,Continue reading

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I know, it’s such a cliché to present you with a whole cauliflower on the second of January, especially after a month-long parade of butter, sugar and bread. And perhaps it’s the decades of conditioning, or the fact that my Christmas season starts the first week of November, but at this point in the picture I tend to hit a wall (of butter, sugar and bread) and really, truly just want some vegetables. (Sadly, this doesn’t prevent me from wanting the last of the Toblerone too.) Of course I’m easing into this whole veggie thing with a healthy dose of cream. Apologies for the iPhone pics taken in the dark, but this was concocted well before dawn for CBC. It was so magically delicious that I have to share. A whole roasted cauliflower is very pinterest-y these days, but I’ve never actually done it myself. Some techniques have you boil the cauliflower first, simmering it for 15-20 minutes in a mixture of wine and herbs,Continue reading

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Squash pie. Right? Because pumpkins aren’t only for carving. This could be pumpkin – the small, sweet sugar pumpkins most often labeled “pie”. They aren’t as woody and sinewy as their grandfathers, and easier to handle for baking. But really it’s butternut – the most common of the winter squash, but congenial in shape, allowing easy access to its innards. I like to buy ones with thick necks, then cut them off, peel and thinly slice and lay over grainy pastry with caramelized onions and cheese – goat, mostly, but I imagine Boursin would be a treat, or Stilton if you like it like that. (I just realized I’m posting a squash double header – ’tis the season, I suppose.) I still don’t have an oven. Some mornings, when it’s still dark, my neighbours see me sneak Bigfoot-like across the street to my sister’s house to put something or other in her oven. It’s like back in the day of Dickens, when families brought theirContinue reading

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People often ask why we spend so much time in Tofino. It’s a good question – besides the fact that it’s stunningly beautiful, and totally zen, and has some of the best food (and drinks!) and beaches and rainforests in Canada, my parents were nice enough to build a house there. So really it’s like a second home – with a kitchen that’s far nicer than mine and looks out over the ocean. So far I haven’t managed to figure out how to live there – except maybe to just go out and not come back, and claim that possession is nine tenths of the law? So it’s easy(ish) to settle in and stay for a few extra days when the rest of Canada is being pummeled with snow. And when it’s time to pack up and go, I rummage through the kitchen and use up whatever’s left – this time it meant finally doing something with that broccoli that seemed like a good ideaContinue reading

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Kale salad is more in keeping with the season, yes? For those sighing heavily at the suggestion of more kale, what if I imbue it with warm browned butter? You know, instead of the oil that you’d normally douse it with. Perhaps you already know the trick of massaging your raw kale leaves with olive oil, which loosens up the leaves a bit, mellowing them out and making them easier to eat. Drizzling them with warm, just-browned butter does the same – it tames the kale, dialing it down toward cooked, but still raw. It’s easier on the teeth, and to pile onto your fork. Which you’ll want to do.

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Black bean tacos
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Ah, January. Everyone’s so busy making this our Best! Year! Ever! And to that and, I know many of you are juicing it up, pumping it up, sweating it out, paying your holiday penance by eschewing fat/carbs/protein/solids or being exclusive to any of the above. As for me, I downloaded a “good habit” app and instructed it to remind me to drink more water, and now I turn off the alarm on my phone several times a day and feel guilty about the fact that I should be drinking more water. I’d like to say I’m immune to it all, but I do get caught up in the healthy eating vibe, and post-cookiepalooza is as good a time of year as any to realize that Almond Roca for breakfast is not necessarily a good life habit, and a dramatic drop in food-centric parties and epic 8 course dinners makes it a bit easier to wean oneself off the literal gravy train. Most years, instead ofContinue reading

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Asparagus w Prosciutto & Cheese 2
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Party invitations are starting to maraud my inbox; leaving the morning after Halloween and arriving home in mid-November, it’s suddenly time to look at the calendar and check off dates for parties and cookie exchanges (maybe another this year?) and all the fun stuff that leads up to Christmas, and think about all the baking there is to be done, and dream up food that can be eaten with your fingers. (For the aforementioned party, of course.) Since Christmas is in Six! Weeks! I thought I’d post 12 days of holiday-inspired recipes (cliché I know, but there’s no way around it) – two each week: breakfasty things and gifty things and cocktail party things, and then give a fun kitchen toy away each Friday. Deal? And Wednesday’s recipe will hint at the giveaway on Friday. Fun and games! This particular recipe counts as party food and brunch food. Double whammy.

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As I may have mentioned before, salads aren’t my forte. Although I know that virtually anything has the potential to become a salad, or at least an element of one, spread out or layered or tossed, I can’t shake the old lettuce-tomato-cucumber combo of my childhood. Juicy pink grapefruits -the best of the year- were 28 cents apiece last week, and so I bought four. To populate my fruit bowl, as it turned out. While I love eating them, I’m not a fan of fileting the things. In this case, extracting the segments released enough sweet-tart juice to make a vinaigrette, with a glug of olive oil, splash of rice or white wine vinegar, dab of grainy mustard and a pinch of sugar. I came across the salad of butter lettuce, pink grapefruit and avocado, three ingredients I just happened to have at the same time – at Not Without Salt. It pushed me out of my spring mix rut. The deep ruffles of smooth,Continue reading

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Ok. Where were we? Recipes have been coming to me this month, the same ones jumping out like targets at a shooting gallery, daring me to make them. Before Christmas, my sister texted me a link to a recipe for shakshuka, eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce – an Israeli breakfast staple that’s similar to the Basque Eggs in Pipérade that blew my mind years ago and yet I don’t think I’ve managed to make since. It’s the sort of simple, inexpensive, easy-to-pull-together dish everyone should have in their repertoire to pull out on a busy weeknight. Wait, it is! In just about every other country in the world – just not so much around here.

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