I’m such a fan of the Dutch baby. We’ve always called it a puffed pancake – an eggy batter that puffs up all dramatically in the oven, like a Yorkshire pudding. It’s been too hot to have the oven on lately, and one day when it poured rain and the temperature dropped below 20, I cranked on the oven and used a half bowl of withering cherries as an excuse to make one. You can do a lot of things with a Dutch baby, but in basic terms you can bake the fruit into it, or put it into the bowl-shaped pancake after. Putting the fruit into the bottom of the pan first creates little pockets and holes where the fruit has steamed through; the edge still domes impressively, and the bottom is all lumpy with fruit. I have a few cast iron skillets, and this is a smaller one I tend to use when it’s just for two or three – I use aContinue reading

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This post was created with the support of BC Blueberries (the title was too long to add Blog Flog!) – I’m a huge fan of blueberries from our next-door neighbours and as always, any words, thoughts and photos are my own. I’m almost overwhelmed by the possibilities once BC blueberries arrive and make their way to my kitchen. They were a few weeks late this season, and I found myself missing them – the big, plump, juicy highbush berries we always have a bowlful on the counter to nibble from at this time of year. I toss them in batters and on waffles, make cobblers and crisps, tarts and grunkles, pile them on a bowl of plain yogurt and granola, muddle them in drinks (try a small handful in a mojito) and simmer them into jam. BC is the biggest highbush blueberry region in the world, and they’re Canada’s biggest fruit export. I always buy more than I need, squirreling some away in the freezerContinue reading

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Stone fruits make the best pie. Truly. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the BC nectarines are unreal this year – better than any I’ve had. We bought a case and started rationing them toward the end – they were so sweet and juicy, we’d slice them thickly over our pancakes, and let the juices mingle with maple syrup. There were apricots, too – and some peaches, and plums. And the omnipresent blackberries, which add tartness and colour by the handful to just about any pie. I mean – look at it! The crumble top was a compromise of the best possible kind – some in the house wanted pie, and others wanted crisp – I kind of like getting the best of both worlds. And in the late summer and fall, which with all its apples and pears and stone fruits is undoubtedly crisp season, you can blend a big batch (I use equal parts brown sugar – flour – oats, with halfContinue reading

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We’ve had a lot of jam this summer. Cherry to start, and peach and apricot, moving on to blackberry and combinations of such. Blackberries haven’t been in season early enough for the past ten years or so we’ve been spending a chunk of middle summer in Tofino, but this year and last we’ve been spending a chunk of every day picking them. My typical routine involves walking down the road for a (locally-roasted) coffee, drinking it on the log out front, and then filling my empty cup to the brim with ripe blackberries on the way home. My favourite jams are made with berries and stone fruits, all of which get along splendidly together in whatever ratio you happen to have attracting fruit flies on your countertop. The beauty of jam is that you can toss all that fruit into your pot, or slice it, or squish it, and add half or so as much sugar as there is fruit (a more typical ratio isContinue reading

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I don’t know if you know, but ice cream is my jam. My desert island food. I used the heat of the last couple days as an excuse to make a batch – strawberry-rhubarb, since the best part about the pie is the ice cream pairing. You can skip the pastry and the baking and get the job done all in one go. Also – there’s something about pure pink ice cream that digs deep into the best part of your childhood. It reminds me of digging the thick stripes of strawberry and chocolate out of the tub of neapolitan. I sometimes roast strawberries and rhubarb for ice cream, but that would require turning on the oven, and it hit 31 degrees at dinnertime last night. You can use fresh, uncooked strawberries, lightly mashed, but I find those combined with heat and sugar become the best form of themselves, and are easier to distribute throughout the cream. Bonus: it’s easy to simmer some rhubarb alongside.

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Confession: I’ve been a little bit obsessed with those plum tarts we had in the Okanagan. If it were a celebrity, I might be hanging around in my car outside its house after dark, hoping for just a little taste. Every time I see a plum I wonder if I could similarly transform it, realize I probably couldn’t truly do it justice, sigh with discouragement and don’t even bother eating it because why would I want a stupid plum anyway if it’s not wrapped in pâte brisée? And then there was a pork sale. Stay with me here, I’m searching for a segue way. Sunterra had a big ol’ pork sale this weekend in support of Alberta pork producers, who are still feeling the affects of H1N1 (Canada risks losing an additional 25 per cent of its pig herd in 2009) – they pulled a big freezer truck into the parking lot and offered to load 66 lbs of loin chops, roasts and whole tenderloinsContinue reading

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