Being 3500 km from my kitchen, in a hotel room on the ninth floor with no kitchen of its own, I have a foolproof excuse to eat out. Also, my friend Dana McCauley, for whom I once made a chocolate Yule Log covered in pistachios that was eaten by squirrels, who then left chocolatey footprints all over my front porch, invited me to her husband’s fabulous restaurant, Pangaea. To not go would just be rude. So my early first dinner, or threesies, which I might also label breakfast since by 3pm I had only had a latte and a half, was: Mahogany glazed salmon, done to perfection (there is a misconception that salmon – or indeed any other fish – should flake with a fork when it’s done, when really this is an indication that it’s overdone) with wilted bok choy (got my greens in), water chestnuts, shiitake mushrooms, and, wait for it… lime caramel sauce. This may sound weird; believe me, it was beautiful.Continue reading

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I’m just about to leave for Toronto, but am leaving dinner behind. It takes the edge off the guilt, a little. On Friday morning we had a little pre-Super Bowl party in the studio at CBC radio. As Jen Keene so aptly put it, it was the perfect Super Bowl party: tons of food, and we didn’t have to watch football. I made shrimp wrapped in prosciutto and quickly cooked, then dipped in pesto (my sister and I already have plans to have a Friday night couch dinner of these sometime very soon, so just wait for that one), chocolate panini, quesadillas with leftover roast chicken, black beans, sauteed mushrooms and roasted red peppers, and chicken drumsticks and thighs, skinned and done up like chicken wings. I love wings, but really, they are mostly skin and fat, very little meat. Chicken little. I do love eating them with my fingers though, particularly when they are sweet and sticky enough to require stacks of napkins, orContinue reading

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On my way home from some assorted errands today, I was starving and thought I’d try my luck at Thi Thi – the best Vietnamese subs possibly anywhere – these things are so good, when my friend Rachael used to visit from Vancouver it was her only Calgary must-do. Come to think of it, I haven’t been back there since she died in November. Anyway, being teeny and located downtown, across from the government building no less, it’s near impossible to find parking. Usually we have to double park or pull up beside the fire hydrant and Mike sits in the car while I run in to wait in the inevitable lineup that typically goes out the door. Not today. I pull around the corner, and there is the golden ticket, rock star parking spot directly out front. We’ve never had this spot before, not in the years since discovering Thi Thi. I pull in. There’s time on the meter. I go inside, and there isContinue reading

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I had a nap this afternoon. We all did. It was absolutely delicious – in my sleepy stupor I remember likening it to falling backward into a big, soft, voluptuous coconut cream pie. It was that yummy. Apparently I dream a lot like Homer Simpson. But then when we woke up, it was 6:22, Mike had to leave in an hour, and we were all starving. Solution: combine what was left of that brown and wild rice salad with the chopped remains of the slow-cooker chicken and a few halved grape tomatoes. Voila! Dinner.

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Apparently, recipes have always been my thing. When I was little, I enjoyed reading cooking magazines more than Owl or Chickadee. In grade 3, I told my class I wanted to be the food editor of Canadian Living magazine when everyone else wanted to be nurses and firemen and princesses. When I was old enough to babysit, I’d spend those evenings flipping through people’s cookbook collections – it was a jackpot night when I stumbled upon an old recipe box to bring to the couch while I watched Fantasy Island. I’ve always been curious about what people eat. So I still have 4 recipe boxes full of recipe cards I hand wrote or typed out on my electric typewriter when I was a kid-slash-teenager. Willem has recently discovered them, and thinks they are the funnest toys ever. (It used to be the stacks of business cards in my file cabinet that were the funnest, but these cards are bigger.) He likes to take them out one by oneContinue reading

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Wor won ton soup is one of Mike’s favorite things. From King’s in particular – there was that one time, when he was working for a helicopter company out by the original King’s in the northeast, when he went for the Friday wor won ton soup run and bailed down the icy slope right outside the front door, dumping 6 large (about 1L) containers of the soup version of pure gold all over himself and producing a chunky, icy soup slide as it instantly froze on the grass. On a happy note, King’s graciously replaced them all for him, but he now frequents the southeast location. I had pulled a package of won ton wrappers from the freezer awhile ago in order to make chips – to do this, cut the wrappers into triangles or strips, brush them with a little oil or water to help any seasonings adhere, and sprinkle them with any number of flavorings: lemon pepper, sesame seeds and Parmesan cheese, curry powder,Continue reading

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Once in awhile, particularly on days when it drops below -30 (seriously – it was minus 47 yesterday morning with the wind chill factor. -47! Global warming, where are you?) I get the urge to pull out my slow cooker and experience the gratification of smelling dinner simmering all day long. It could be this urge was subconsciously triggered by the current barrage of ads for McCain’s Slow Cooker Solutions – those $10 frozen meals packaged in an ice cream tub instead of a bag, that you toss into your slow cooker instead of your microwave. (It doesn’t say much that their ultra-styled photo still looks like Puritan beef stew in a can. And look… they even bought the Health Check symbol to go on the front. Have you seen the recent exposé on CBC’s Marketplace?) People. Slow cookers ARE the solution, they don’t require a solution. People don’t bring them home and think, what on earth am I going to do with this contraption? It takes a fullContinue reading

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I admit I spent most of the past 24 hours fantasizing about what I would have for dinner tonight. Inglewood pizza? Mu Shu pork from KamHan? Ooooh – butter chicken and fresh garlic-butter naan from the Taj Mahal! Unfortunately, it being -300 degrees outside, our car froze solid and so all of those options flew out the window. But really, it occurred to me that after 24 hours without food, anything I eat will taste bloody fantastic, so I might as well make it something healthy. And because I was still a little dopey, Mike took over dinner duties and made spaghetti and meatballs. The meatballs came from a stash we threw into the fridge over the holidays – once in awhile we’ll mix up a big batch, roll cookie sheet loads of meatballs, freeze them and then transfer them to freezer bags for dinner emergencies such as this. As the pasta is cooking, brown the frozen meatballs in a hot skillet, then pour theContinue reading

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Except that I can’t eat any. I’m having a minor test done tomorrow, which means I can only ingest clear fluids for 24 hours. Me! Going without food for 24 hours! Plus however much time I spend at the hospital tomorrow afternoon, which I’m sure will seem far longer on an empty stomach. So, planning to spend a full Sunday out of the kitchen (very unusual for me), I made a batch of chicken stew with pesto yesterday for Mike and W. If I didn’t work in the food world, and had just a few go-to dinner recipes in my repertoire, this would be one of them. If I was one of those Moms who made meals on rotation – meatloaf Mondays, spaghetti Tuesdays, pork chop Wednesdays, and so on, this would definitely make the cut. Willem loves it (possibly on account of the pesto, which he seems to be in love with), and so do Mike and I. For some reason it turns out creamierContinue reading

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