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I have no shortage of ways to use the last of the sour cream or yogurt as it drifts past its expiry date (provided it’s not growing tiny Muppets on its surface, yes) – I stir it into pancake, waffle, muffin and banana bread batter, or make scones… I make green sauce or toss it in the freezer. But ladies and gents, we have a new contender… these tiny, tender fritters I came across in the great Edna Staebler’s Food That Really Schmecks (if you’re Canadian, you may remember it) – and though I didn’t think I needed a go-to fritter in my repertoire, it turns out I did.
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Onion Bialy

It’s unfortunate that the bialy has not achieved the same level of recognition as the bagel, as they are unquestionably as great. Originally from Bialystock, Poland, the soft rolls are made with a deep indent in the middle, rather than a hole, in which a small amount of filling (and sometimes a scattering of cheese) is added before baking – generally it’s caramelized onions and poppyseed. They’re regaining popularity at Jewish delis and bakeries in New York (particularly in the Lower East Side) and even Toronto, but I’ve never come across a bialy in Calgary. (Which isn’t to say they don’t exist… if you see some, let me know!) Fortunately, you can make your own – and if you have a veritable jungle of onions in your garden, this is a good way to attack them.


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Rhubarb Lemon Bars

This rhubarb… it just won’t stop. My own patch is becoming more impressive than I expected, but the stalks are still small and spindly (my theory is that it’s because I coddle and water it, and rhubarb thrives on neglect), but when I sigh with envy over friends’ enormous red plants with umbrella-sized leaves, I remember that the thin stalks are perfect for chopping and stirring into scones, muffins and cakes that resemble the surface of the moon. And lemon bars! Which everyone I know adores, and are made even better, if you can imagine it, with a scattering of pink rhubarb over the base before you add the filling. Double tartness! I make these with cranberries and coconut at Christmas, and it’s one of our favourite things.
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Roasted cherry ice cream

It’s a sure sign we’re solidly into summer when the first cherries arrive from BC. The other day a small grocery store by the dog park had an enormous bowl of them at the checkout, and people were milling about far after they had their groceries bagged, chatting, downing as many as they could. BC cherries always arrive bigger, juicier and meatier than I remember, and the action of working out a cherry pit with your tongue and spitting it into the grass channels decades worth of summer nostalgia.
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Zhoug

With so many leafy green things growing in the garden and in containers on the back porch, green sauce season is here. Fresh, uncooked green sauces exist in cuisines around the world – pesto, chimichurri, pistou, chermoula, salsa verde (which really describes so many of these herby sauces), and zhoug- a bright, fiery condiment from Yemen that’s made with fresh cilantro, parsley, garlic, chilies and olive oil. Yes, that describes, more or less, many green sauces out there – zhoug also has some cumin, coriander and often cardamom to round it out with floral, earthy flavours. As with its saucy green relatives, it’s amazing on eggs, drizzled over avocado toast, fish, stews and roasted carrots, tossed with potato salad… once you have a jar in the fridge, you’ll start spooning it over everything.

(We talked about zhoug and other green sauces last week on the Eyeopener!)
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My old friend Mairlyn (the friendship is old, not the people in it) was in town a few weeks ago, and we got together to record a podcast (her episode will be up soon!), which was a blast because Mairlyn is hilarious and fun and we could have recorded 6 hours of conversation with no trouble at all. Unfortunately my face hurt from laughing and she had to get to the airport, and so I sent her off with a batch of her own high-fibre Chocolate Fudgy Brownie Bites. It’s the first recipe I made out of her latest book, Peace, Love and Fibre, and one I’ve made two or three times since – despite the very healthy-sounding ingredient list, these are chewy and chocolatey and divine, and I started making them for W’s lunchbox. Though we’re at the end of lunchbox season, camping/hiking/road trip season is right here, and regardless of the time of year, we all need more cookies in our lives.
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This is what happens when I come home with leftover whipping cream in a can… I need to come up with a use for it to prevent myself from spraying it all directly into my mouth. Also: I have a container of the most brilliant raspberry-rhubarb compote in the fridge, which I love to eat cold with yogurt and granola, but lets face it – a crunchy-edged biscuit and whipped cream makes even better use of it. If dessert was a sandwich, this might be it.

Somehow, someone somewhere decided that shortcakes were the ultimate vehicle for strawberries… so much so that someone else invented those little yellow sweet sponges to sell alongside the berries in grocery stores during the summer. And yes, strawberry shortcake is a good thing… such a good thing that they named a cartoon character after it. But honestly, any juicy seasonal fruit does just as well – you need it to be juicy so that the shortcakes can absorb some of those juices, so cold stewed plums or thickly sliced peaches tossed in sugar are great contestants. But my personal favourite is raspberries + rhubarb – since I have no berries growing in my back yard, I use a bag of the frozen ones, which is perfectly fine – especially for cooking. You wind up with this sweet-tart intense red compote that’s just saucy enough for things like shortcakes and Eton mess – but that’s another story.
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Yesssss, I managed to get another podcast out and into the world! Food writer Claire Tansey was in town to promote her new cookbook, Uncomplicated, and since she has many years of experience running the Chatelaine test kitchen, we decided to sit down and answer a few common questions we get about cooking, ingredients and other culinary curiosities. We also talked about what makes a solid recipe, how you know it’s going to work, and ate some jelly doughnuts. Have a listen!


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Nanaimo Ice Cream Bars

There are few new ideas in the culinary world – most recipes out there are tweaks of existing things or creative new versions of same, and I suppose this is no different. But when someone on Twitter questioned why no ice cream version of the Nanaimo bar exists – beyond, yes, an ice cream pie (though I wonder about the vanilla ice cream filling with dry custard powder stirred in…) – in response to the conversation about the new Canadian dessert stamps and how the Nanaimo bar stamp looks more like an ice cream bar, ratio-wise, I leapt at the challenge. And so I give you Nanaimo ice cream bars with a Nanaimo bar base and frozen custard ice cream made with Bird’s custard powder. Oh yes.
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