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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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By happy coincidence, I flipped on Nigella Express yesterday just in time to see her snipping rolled-up corn tortillas into a hot skillet to brown and crisp them before adding a slurry of egg, tomatoes and chopped fresh chilies. Hey, good idea, and using things I happen to currently have in my kitchen. I don’t usually keep fresh corn tortillas on hand, but when I do I’m always looking for new ways to use them, since they come in a 50-pack. (Tomorrow, the rest are going into the freezer, to resurface later on in the year.) So, since Mike is playing an afternoon show and heading straight out afterwards, I’m cooking for one. Well, one and a half, but the half just downed a whole wheat tortilla spread with peanut butter and wrapped around a banana, and close to his own weight in dried apricots (thankfully we’ve just passed the diaper stage). I’m in just the mood for a bowl of spicy eggs with lots of crispy bits, so thoughtContinue reading

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We ate the last of the pot of black bean soup today, and I’ll miss it – the soup silently helped meet our daily vegetable quota all week. It was pretty fantastic, actually, despite being completely vegetarian – vegan, even (no offense to meatless meals, but I usually prefer a bit of smoky ham or spicy sausage to flavor my black bean soup). Despite this shortcoming, it was absolutely delicious, due in part to the lone fresh jalapeño, and to the fact that it had had so much time for the flavors to really get to know each other. I am never going to feel the need to add meat to a black bean soup again. Since I had already eaten several bowls of it this week, today I felt experimental, and crumbled a bit of feta overtop.) We ate it before going to my nephew Ben’s birthday party, as insurance against the plethora of fifth-birthday-party-food that was sure to be there. Not that hunger has a lotContinue reading

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The biggest health risk associated with having children: leftovers. The cheesy crusts and crispy bits you clean off their plates when they don’t. When there isn’t enough to go back into the fridge, it goes into my mouth. There were 5 of them (children, that is) around the table today, all there due to various unforeseen circumstances – Ben (who will be 5 tomorrow) had a fever last night and so was kept out of school, Emily (9) had a P.D. day, and Cole (3) and Hugo (2) were out with their mum at the giant lulu lemon sale I kept hearing about on the news, and stopped by after to say hello and play with toys. As anyone who has ever cooked for a child can confirm, feeding children can be complicated. There are many prejudices connected with food. Plenty of fanaticism, and just as much apathy. Senses that detect color, smell, texture and general weirdness are heightened at the dinner table. I would love to see GordonContinue reading

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I’d like to preface this post by saying that I don’t plan dinners ahead with this website in mind. Although you’d think that might be a good idea, I think doing it that way would sort of miss the point. It’s 4:17 pm now, and I’m just starting to think about what’s for dinner. As always, sometimes I do plan ahead, but just as often, I do not. There are two avocados about to go seriously downhill in our fruit bowl, so Mike turned them into guacamole. Guac has always been Mike’s thing; there is never even a question as to whether I should make it. (He took this task on years ago, when I was out of town and he called my hotel to ask me how to make it. I told him to mash up the avocado and add some lime juice, salt, and a clove of garlic. He took “clove” to mean “head”, and added the whole thing. Said it was fantastic. He was soContinue reading

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It’s becoming evident that trends are going to start appearing on this site – like everyone else in the world, there are the usual standbys we pull into service on a regular basis. Pizza is one of them, usually made with our standard whole wheat crust recipe. Which has always worked out just fine. But tonight, I got home from Edmonton at dinnertime with two batches of the no-knead bread dough bubbling away in their bowls, and thought, why not slap some onto a baking sheet and see how it works for pizza? I’m glad I did – the result was a chewy, bulbous crust like the ones you get at the Italian Supermarket on Saturday afternoons (minus the smoky charred bits they get from the wood-fired oven. When I win the lottery, I’m having one installed in my back yard. Seriously – the Canadian rep for Italian Magnaini wood-fired ovens is in Black Diamond!) Fridge-cleaning pizzas always seem to end up better than any others, because youContinue reading

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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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