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Apologies for the plain photo, but this is what real life looks like – W was hungry (OK, we all were), and to be honest I didn’t plan to share this until I got several requests on Instagram. People like sloppy lentils! It was a last minute, just-drove-home-from-Edmonton-and-rummaged-through-the-freezer dinner, with a small handful of red lentils thrown in to boost fibre and other good things. Dry split red lentils cook quickly and mask themselves perfectly, soaking up the sweet-vinegary flavours of sloppy Joe sauce – no one has a clue they’re there. (If you like, you could use canned brown lentils instead – they work just as well.)

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Prime rib seems so 1990s steakhouse, and it’s something I rarely think to make at home, but when we do I never regret it. It can be a bit of a spend – $50 for a chunk of meat seems exorbitant and reserved only for the fanciest of occasions – but when you think about it, it’s less than we’d likely spend ordering pizza or hitting Swiss Chalet on the way home from Christmas shopping. This relatively small two bone prime rib fed all of us plus my parents, with leftovers. And it provided a perfect excuse to make Yorkshire puddings. I know when you invest in a prime rib you don’t want to screw it up, but the good news is, after you practice the blast-it-with-heat-and-then-leave-it-in-the-oven-for-two-hours-no-peeking method, you’ll be confident in your ability to cook a prime rib whether it’s for a special occasion dinner (like, if everyone is kind of meh about turkey) or just a regular Wednesday. You can call your parentsContinue reading

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Last week at this time we were collectively stress eating – and cooking – me doing my best to distract myself in the kitchen, simultaneously trying to come up with something munchy-snacky-comforting we could eat on the couch in front of the TV, when this passed through my Instagram field of vision. A pile of nacho-style fried wontons topped with salty-sweet bulgogi beef, kimchi and cheese sauce. Brilliance? I think so. First of all: the crispy wontons, which are simply wonton wrappers, halved and fried in a shallow skiff of oil in a small skillet (you don’t need much – and they cook up in less than a minute) which transforms them into a delicious cross between cracker and chip. I am so keeping this technique in my back pocket for those nights when we need some salt and crunch with structural integrity – they would do well with a hefty, cheesy baked artichoke dip. Mental note.

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The oak leaves were just sitting on our kitchen table, I swear. Last week W and I were invited to come join a family cooking class at the Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence (yes, this is an actual place, and for anyone who appreciates beef and butchery, it’s amazing) – they were working with Canadian Living (my fave, as you know) on encouraging families to bring their kids into the kitchen – a place W has been hanging out in since he’s been alive. Publisher Sandra Martin joined us virtually on the big screen and the butchers and beef chefs – such great guys – were there to help everyone along as we cooked our way through recipes in the current issue of CL – beef stew, sliders, stir fry, an easy roast (our task – and a good one as it allowed me to give W a crash course in gravy making, something I hope he remembers this Thanksgiving weekend) and mozzarella stuffed miniContinue reading

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I know, two days into school and I’m already dishing out pot roasts, as if we had already switched on the furnace and were full-on into fall. (I made gingerbread too this week. I know!) Really what’s happening is I’ve been spelunking through my freezer, making room for the berries and tomatoes and soups and curries I’ve been making to keep everything that’s coming in to season all at once from composting itself on the countertop. And those items that take up the most real estate are the first to go. Plus, making things like pot roast and muffins makes me feel like I’m on the ball with life, taking care of things. Who cares that I shovelled the stuff off my treadmill onto my bed and when it was time to go to bed shuffled it all to the floor, and have since piled even more stuff onto the treadmill (which is beside my desk because I truly believe one of these days I’mContinue reading

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Beef stew was, sadly at the time, a staple of our childhood. My mom would buy stewing beef and my dad, clearly unaware of the benefits of cooking such cuts low and slow, would brown the meat, add tomatoes and potatoes and green things and serve it up for dinner – and it was a long, meaty chew. Nowadays, I appreciate the flavour potential of inexpensive cuts of beef – and I love a good dark, sticky braise. A recipe that calls for a few hours’ cooking time sounds daunting, but dishes like beef stew and carbonnade can be slid into the oven after school and be done by dinnertime. Of course, starting with the proper cut of beef is important, which is why so many people panic in the meat aisle, why Mike dreads me sending him to the store with vague cuts of beef on his list, and why having a good butcher is a very good thing. But when there isn’t someoneContinue reading

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Our longtime director at the Eyeopener, a man I’ve worked with for 6 or 7 of the 32 years he’s been at CBC, is retiring this week. Every Tuesday when I go to the studio, his first question when I walk through the door is – “got steak?” Generally I don’t (although he didn’t complain when I had prime rib instead), but this past Tuesday, being my last day with him in the director’s chair, I made steak. I brought him a nice, triple A, well-marbled ribeye to cook on the grill, but I also made steak bites – easier for everyone to eat in the studio first thing in the morning, and inspired by the steak bites I had at the Steakout truck a few weeks ago (you’ll find them parked beside MEC most of the time), which they served with a garlicky soy aïoli. I’ve had a recipe for Rockin’ Ronnie Shewchuk’s “Easiest, Tastiest Steak” on my to-make list for many years now,Continue reading

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My goal this week: to be in bed by 10 every night. (With a book, if possible.) And to chip away at the contents of my freezer, which is currently being held closed by duct tape. Also: go to the gym. (Check. Except for the early bedtime part.) Confession: many of the containers in my freezer contain chili. It’s not that I’m particularly fanatical about chili, but it is the sort of thing I tend to make in large batches, often to use up surplus meat or beans, and rarely do we get through an entire pot. I fancy myself the sort to come home after a long day, slide whole potatoes in the oven and some frozen chili on the stove, and have chili baked potatoes in no time. I hardly ever do this, but I love the idea. It makes me feel very on the ball, like a squirrel with an overflowing nut tree. That must be held closed with tape. And soContinue reading

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Oy. Are we really being sucked back into the cold reality that is January 4th tomorrow morning? Although the holidays have been wonderful and busy, I feel like I haven’t spent quite enough horizontal time on the couch in my flannel PJ pants surfing food blogs and watching The Office and Flight of the Conchords on DVD. What I love best about this time of year is that no one expects anything of you – to answer your emails, even – for the week between Christmas and New Years’ Eve. Of course I was back at work last week anyway, covering traffic for the provincial shows on Tuesday and Wednesday – but any work done during the last week of December seems extra-productive somehow, sort of like working on a Sunday. I also feel like I haven’t quite kept up with my end of the bargain here – over the past few weeks I let a good half the festivities slip through the cracks withoutContinue reading

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