, ,

When I started this place back in 2008 and posted dinner each night, it wasn’t always a recipe – because who follows an actual recipe each night? More often than not it’s a matter of shuffling through the fridge and constructing something out of what’s there – what needs to be cooked, revamped or salvaged, or what’s comfortably in your repertoire, like the scrambled eggs and brown beans my mom always fell back on when we were kids, or the eggs on toast. A lot of proper dinners don’t require a recipe – and when it’s the sort of thing that makes use of whatever scraps you have in your fridge, it’s not helpful to adhere to a strict formula.

5
Share

I think I’ve been avoiding writing this post for the same reasons I’ve always avoided making fried chicken from scratch – I’m afraid I’m not going to do it justice, or do it right. Seven Spoons has been one of my favourite blogs, if not my number one, for as long as I’ve known food blogs existed. I’ve been waiting for Tara’s book to be conceived, written and released for almost as long – and now it’s finally here, in glorious 3D, and for lack of a non-clich√©, even more beautiful than I imagined. Pardon the poor/harsh late-night kitchen/bedside lighting. I’ve loved cookbooks literally since I was a kid and hoarded stacks of them at my bedside, and Seven Spoons has everything I always crave in one. For years I’ve aspired to Tara’s focus and precision, her ability to slow down, to commit time to quality over quantity. Her style and her eye and her taste – everything she makes, I want to eat. TheContinue reading

0
Share
,

This…! The computer added that exclamation mark. Really. It’s very intuitive. Did today need a pot of chicken and dumplings simmering on the stove? Mine did. It was all I could do to keep myself from devouring the lot, standing at the stove, and the only deterrent was the risk of incinerating my tongue. It may have been worth it. I tried to take pictures. I mean I did, but I could barely focus. The steam was making me ravenous, like that cartoon steam that winds out of delicious things and swirls up your nose. I snapped a few, grabbed a fork and took the bowl to the couch for some alone time. Then I came back for a rendezvous with the pot. This feels like the sort of thing I should have grown up with, but it wasn’t. My childhood never knew a dumpling. These are the deal deal – sticky dough you drop by the spoonful onto the surface of the simmering stew,Continue reading

1
Share
, ,

I only have the photo I took of this soup with my phone – and not a great one at that. Even then it had already been pilfered, skimmed of its sliced mushrooms, which looked so nice floating on the surface, and of its green onions. There wasn’t much left but shredded chicken, torn cilantro and a few strips of red pepper, but still I have to share. (It’s far prettier here, my launching point, although not quite the same.) Mike looked up from his bowl and said, “you must be happy with this one.” I kind of love that it has no rice or noodles – no filler. Although you could certainly pile some into your bowl and ladle the soup overtop. My kitchen is humming slowly along.. I have an oven now, and countertops! But no backsplash, and there are issues with the fridge that prevent me from actually emptying things into it. But we have ice! I’ve never had ice in myContinue reading

23
Share
,

This cold has grabbed me by the collar and slammed me up against the wall. And yes, I’m resorting to chicken soup, spiked heavily with lime. Which comes in very handy considering how much stock I currently have in my freezer. In December I shot fifty soups for the next Soup Sisters cookbook, due out this fall via Appetite by Random House. Teams of other volunteers were rounded up to cook as I styled and shot, but while most of the excess was delivered to shelters, the short days meant a loss of light and many containers came home with me to be photographed in my kitchen. As you can imagine there was plenty of leftover soup hanging around my fridge. This one stood out – it’s simple and tasty – just chicken, onions and broth, no noodles to interrupt by slurplily splattering all over your chin, necessitating extra Kleenex. But really what I love is the crumbled feta and sliced avocado combined with theContinue reading

3
Share
,

Butter chicken and naan are totally gaga for each other, don’t you think? It’s tough to have one without the other. And so I wrapped butter chicken in naan dough, then baked it into a sort of butter chicken calzone. With or without cheese, it’s one of our new favourite things to eat around here. I originally wrote this recipe for the April issue of Parents Canada – streamlining it for print with the use of bottled sauce. You could, of course, use any butter chicken recipe you like, or even use takeout. Once cold, it will easily spoon into the middle of a circle of dough without running amok; you can then top it with a wee mound of grated cheese and seal the pocket to bake into a gooey pocket – I want to give them a go on the grill, and see if the added char will make them even more reminiscent of the smokey flavour naan gets from a traditional tandooriContinue reading

1
Share

How pretty is this? It’s my niece’s birthday today. (Happy birthday Em! I luvs ya.) When she was off for spring break, she came over to help me cook and style food for a couple of days; we played Green Day and made Chicken Cacciatore. She wanted to help out, and so I printed off this recipe and set her to make it – all on her own. I tried to stay out of it and let her figure it out. I find it interesting to watch people – especially those who aren’t everyday cooks – navigate a recipe. She did a great job, and was a bit of a perfectionist, in fact, carefully placing single pieces of bacon in the hot pan, spacing them evenly, muttering under her breath when one piece folded over. She stood in wait over the pan, jumping at each spatter, turning each piece of bacon as it cooked. It was adorable. We’ve done a lot of baking together, andContinue reading

0
Share
,

Today’s frozen mystery meat surprise turned out to be Buffalo Chicken Strips – which W was none to pleased about, so he had spinach pizza. All I did was lay them out on a cookie sheet and bake them for 20 minutes, then crumbled some blue cheese (I’m not a huge fan, but wanted to be authentic) into a bit of low fat sour cream and light mayo. We ate them with our fingers, and without much of anything else, unless you count finishing off W’s pizza crusts. To be honest I come home at the end of each day having not only worked around food for 10 hours or so, but having spent that time nibbling it.. we have to do several takes at the end of each recipe during which we “taste and reveal”, and because neither Ned nor I are stellar actors, we almost always have to do it over and over, attempting each time to take another spontaneously new and excitingContinue reading

0
Share
,

I’m not really sure what we had for dinner tonight, to be honest. Or whether we technically did have dinner – we kind of skidded right through and suddenly it’s after 10 and I’m making creme brulee and curried squash soup, which would have actually made a fine dinner. I have two events tomorrow that require food, and because I didn’t get the final details of one until around 4 I headed out to grocery shop over dinnertime, thinking I was smart to go during the Grey Cup. It seems a lot of people had the same kind of smarts. I made some chicken drumsticks for the occasion (Grey Cup) – threw them in the Crock Pot and sort of forgot about them, except for the occasional waft that crept by my nose. I am a big fan of chicken wings, but not a fan of all that skin and fat, which is really all there is to a chicken wing. If you pull theContinue reading

0
Share