A few weeks ago, Jann Arden invited me over for lunch – she made Beyond Meat burgers, and we chatted about life and food and how she’s navigating being vegan, and I recorded it all and whittled it down into a podcast. It was my first time recording one on my own – no one was standing by with headphones, watching the levels on the laptop… it was just Jann and I and a single hand-held mic with a really long cord – almost long enough to reach around her 8×10 foot kitchen island. (If I was to be stranded on an island, it would be that one.) Give it a listen… huge thanks to Jann for taking the time to make me lunch, for letting me use one of her songs, and just generally being an amazing human and positive influence on the world.
We all seem to want more protein in the morning, don’t we? Without necessarily committing to bacon and eggs… or even to Greek yogurt or anything more substantial than something that can be grabbed and nibbled with coffee. I tend to like carby, sweet-ish things with my coffee, and I feel like biscotti has more potential then it’s often given credit for. It feels so 90s to me – those big glass jars of awkwardly long cookies, often dunked lengthwise in waxy chocolate, on the counters of coffee shops that were just starting to multiply. I think some people decided that biscotti should be hard, and as such let them sit out forever, hardening. But in my mind they should be crisp and not an effort to bite into without softening them first in your coffee.
So back in February, when my friend Jan’s new cookbook came out, I was so diligent in making sure I made one of the recipes in a timely manner to post on the day of her official launch. I made a pot of beefaroni on a Sunday night when everyone was over for dinner – I’m making an effort to do more big family Sunday suppers these days – and it was a total hit. I mean, perfect for everyone, from the new generation of littles to my Dad, who took some home for lunch the next day. I’ve made it twice since – it’s a good meal to send someone who needs it, or to have in the fridge to dip into for quick dinners and Thermos lunches, and it freezes well. And I just realized I never managed to post it here.
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I’ve been bombarded with requests – and rightly so! – for this ermine frosting since posting it in stories last night. Honestly, my world has forever changed. I’m what you might call a frosting fanatic – the one who seeks out the corner piece with the most flowers it can structurally tolerate – and yet it can be altogether too much sweet. Enter Ermine: an old-school frosting that was apparently the original frosting paired with red velvet cakes—the somewhat unorthodox method of boiling milk and flour into a thick, pasty pudding and then spooning congealed blobs into whipped butter and sugar miraculously produces an over-the-top smooth and fluffy, not-too sweet frosting that’s a dream to work with. I know, it doesn’t sound delicious. But it is.
I’ve been loving the charred cabbage dishes I’ve had at restaurants lately (try the charred hakka cabbage at Two Penny, charred cabbage with walnut vinaigrette and manchego at Ten Foot Henry, and the charred cabbage with Mimolette cheese and jalapeño cream at Pigeonhole), and figured it’s about as easy as it gets to make at home. I use thick wedges or inch-thick cross-sections of green cabbage and cook them in oil or ghee in a very hot cast iron skillet until they’re charred on both sides and tender all the way through (cover the pan for a few minutes if you need to, and you could even add a splash of stock or water to create some steam), but you could also drizzle it with oil and roast in a hot oven until tender and charred on the edges.
I posted some photos of biscuits over on Instagram last week and everyone (understandably) lost their minds, including me – I do love a good biscuit, particularly one loaded with grated cheddar or cheese ends, and especially when that biscuit is used to bookend eggs and cheese or fried chicken or pulled pork. Pulled pork seems like a big production, but it’s really not – and in fact, like most braised dishes, requires far less actual work than a lot of other dinners out there. If you have a) a slow cooker, or b) plans to be around the house for a few hours, you can pop a pork shoulder in and let time + heat do all the work.
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Hey guys! I can’t believe I forgot to share here that the second episode of Crispy Bits (the podcast!) is out – this time I sat down with self-published cookbook author Greta Podleski and we chatted about how she has managed to sell 2 1/2 million cookbooks on her own, without the support of a major publisher. How she managed to be the #1 best selling cookbook in Canada all last year, even though her latest book came out in October of 2017. It’s truly an amazing story.
I figured some of you could use some pink gummies this week. Yes! Homemade gummies you make yourself! I can hear you eye-rolling, but it’s about as easy as making a batch of Jell-O. Bonus: you get to use wine, even more than they use in those fancy champagne gummies that cost $20 per quarter pound. Rosé has good colour and flavour, but these work with white or red too—a great way to use up the last cup in a bottle (it can happen!), or some prosecco that has gone flat. And if you don’t want to use wine at all, you can swap in your juice of choice – cherry is delicious. Apologies for the lone photo, but I’m realizing that a short and sweet recipe share is better than none at all. Amiright?
Since it seems most of this part of the world is in a polar vortex, I thought I’d offer up a consolation prize to being stuck outside: popcorn chicken and waffle bits, from last year’s Brunch Life: Comfort Classics and More for the Best Meal of the Day by Matt Basile and Kyla Zanardi. Because I truly cannot think of a more suitable brunch scenario than a weekend with a high of -30.
This version of chicken and waffles is brilliant—bite-sized fried chicken pieces are far less intimidating to make and cook, and are perfect for nibbling with bites of crisp waffle, all drizzled with a spicy Sriracha maple syrup butter. I love that everything can be eaten with a fork or fingers, and you don’t have to balance your plate on your lap to maneuver a knife. And it’s very conducive to sharing, if you find yourself in the vicinity of other people in their pyjamas.
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