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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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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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