From a “Quick & Healthy Dinners” class at the Cookbook Company. (And Happy Birthday Mom, Anne and Leo!) Mike saw my blog last night. He came into the bedroom and said, “people are going to think you’re so full of it. They aren’t going to believe we eat that kind of thing for dinner on a normal night!” Is this true? Am I coming across as a food snob? Because really, any meal that you write out in overly descriptive terms comes across far more cheffy than it really is. I learned this a couple years ago, when they invited me to be a presenter at Epicurean at the Jasper Park Lodge. The lineup included Chef Michael Smith, Brad Horen (recently named the best chef in Canada), some other serious restaurant chefs, and me. I argued that they didn’t really want me there – I’m not a formally trained restaurant chef with my hard-earned whites and line experience. My expertise is more on the eating end ofContinue reading

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Dinners on Sunday are usually really late lunches, since we usually get off to a late, lingering start at breakfast. I always liked the idea of hosting big, bustling Sunday afternoon meals, in the Italian way, where I cook all morning (let’s face it, something I do anyway) and then friends and family jam around the table to eat and drink and visit all afternoon. Why did I marry a Ukrainian?  Speaking of Italian things, we turned the rest of that olive bread and baked goat cheese from yesterday into panini (really just a fancy word for a grilled cheese sandwich that has been squished down as it cooks) and it was fantastic – I wished there was some smoked turkey to go in with it, but not badly enough to motivate me outside to the store to buy some. It occurs to me now that it would have also made wonderful filling for an omelet… something I’ll have to revisit in a few months, as I have consumed enoughContinue reading

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I’m almost ashamed at how close Mike came to convincing me we should order Inglewood Pizza tonight – he knew I was an easy target, my defenses having been knocked down by the deep snow and PJs I had been in most of the afternoon since coming inside, making me feel all snug and far from Monday.  (Not quite far enough.) I stopped him as he picked up the phone, in fact. I’m so glad I did – I had another recipe to test using my mishmash of peppers. Right now I can smell the tumble of oil-slicked peppers, tomatoes, chilies and garlic roasting in the oven. When they come out, I’ll blitz it in the food processor until it’s chunky with a few black olives, spread it over some crumbled goat cheese I put in a smallish baking dish, and broil it until it’s bubbly around the edges. It should be perfect scooped out with chunks of the pepper-olive rye we picked up this afternoon, stillContinue reading

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And finally, a new website! And it only took me a year or so. (Seriously. Remember my old domain actually ran through its lifetime and extinguished itself while waiting for me to set it up already?) So, yay me. I think I may have pulled something trying to pat myself on the back. Mike’s playing a show up in Canmore tonight, and so seeing as a) it’s winter, and b) snowy, and c) he gets so nervous before a gig that he never eats, and if they do get a free food and booze tab, you can guess which category it’s spent on, I decided to feed him proper before sending him off this afternoon. Now, you’d think by the ripe old age of somewhere between 30 and 40, I might have learned that when working with hot peppers, rubber gloves are a good idea. I’m pretty sure I mentioned that fact in the article I just finished for City Palate. In fact, I deliberated includingContinue reading

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Today I’ve been working on an article about chiles, and as such, testing recipes that use them. My countertop is covered with dried guillano, ancho and as-yet-unidentified green, red and purplish chile peppers. One of the recipes I tested was sort of a pulled pork-goulash-sloppy José kind of thing. Using pork shoulder, I wanted to braise it, so since I didn’t get started until after 10 pm I browned it first in my skillet, then put it all in the slow cooker last night before I went to bed, fully intending to get up at 3am and check on it – in fact, I got a little giddy at the idea of sitting alone at the kitchen table in the middle of the night, writing something stirring that could only come to me at such an odd hour. The single light above me might swing subtly back and forth, as if I was in the bowel of a ship. Why does the image of aContinue reading

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(In a frenzy.) You would think, given that this website acts as a sort of mealtime confessional, I may be tempted to advise the world that I served my family a wonderfully balanced, seasonal meal tonight. Given the fact that W and I spent most of the afternoon at a playdate, perhaps I should have been more on the ball, stopping to buy a frozen steak on the way home before running for my bottle of valium. (Did you know that the term mother’s little helper referred to valium? Or executive excedrine among corporate types and dolls in the ’60s novel Valley of the Dolls. From 1969 to 1982 it was the nation’s most prescribed drug, earning La Roche pharmaceutical $600 million annually. In 1978, nearly 2.3 billion tabs of valium were downed. Perhaps I’m in the wrong business.) So at 6 o’clock the news came on, and suddenly we were all starving and started rummaging through the fridge and freezer in search of someContinue reading

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Does this count as a same-day post? I haven’t been to bed yet. I don’t want to slip up and miss a day before January is even finished. I say this with the bold assumption that anyone is even going to notice. (Ha – I just noticed this thing is posting 11:50, when it’s actually 12:50. So it would at least appear that I’m ahead of the game!) I have a class on Monday at the Cookbook Company, which I’ve been trying to plan today. The topic: healthy everyday meals. Although it’s a ridiculously broad subject, for some reason everything I come up with seems so obvious. So one of my favorites, that seems to be different and popular and I’ve had several email requests for since mentioning it on the radio, is this curried shrimp I make using marmalade and peanut butter. It sounds reminiscent of those meatballs you make with ketchup and grape jelly, or chicken baked in Coca Cola. But really, it’sContinue reading

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I have a 6pm meeting at the Amsterdam Rhino tonight, to discuss this spring’s Rwandan fundraiser. Guaranteed we are not going to all sit around a table and have drinks and no pub food, so I’m leaving Mike and Willem to their own devices. We had a late lunch anyway, when they came home from the zoo tired and starving. For lunch, I had two Spolumbo’s sausages left in the fridge, both spicy Italian, and so turned one into pasta sauce. One of my favorite things to do with these sausages is to squeeze them at about 1 inch intervals from their casings into a hot olive-oiled skillet, producing instant meatballs. There is no shaping, no mixing. They hold together perfectly. If you want to saute up some onion and red pepper first, that’s up to you. Once they are browned, pour in some tomato sauce and let it simmer – this will not only complete the cooking, but will season the sauce deliciously. InContinue reading

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(I’m sorry if these look unappetizing – they were totally delicious!) This afternoon my folks stopped by while looking at properties in the area, and so because my Dad is a fan of beans and Spolumbo’s sausage (OK, we all are), we had a late lunch of Spolumbos chicken-apple and turkey-cranberry sausages, grilled on the barbeque until dark and crackling, a quick bean salad and some tart homemade applesauce I froze vats of in the fall when my apple tree was threatening to drop rotten fruit bombs all over the yard, and the magpies were getting drunk off them. We had the coolest yard on the street, if you were a bird. At Superstore they have cans of ‘bean blend’: chick peas, kidney beans, cannellini beans and… navy beans? Legumes, anyway, for about a dollar a can. They all look the same shade of taupe when they come out of the can, but they do make an almost instant bean salad. Add a chopped stalkContinue reading

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