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THIS. Baked brie with Christmas preserves: it’s what’s for dinner. And breakfast, probably. I’ve embraced this season of chocolates, cookies and leftover party food as in place of our regular meals, or at least as supplements. I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten more baked brie in the last few weeks as I have all year – and I’m counting on more tonight. About twenty years ago, I was in my early twenties visiting a friend in Saskatoon – she lived in a corner bungalow that back then cost so little these days I could probably put it on my credit card – and she had two small kids, a work and soccer schedule, and the whole scenario seemed so grown-up, especially when we decided one day to make a big pot of preserves to divvy into jars and hand out as Christmas gifts. We came up with this mishmash of holiday flavours – citrus, cranberries, nuts and spice – and made a special run to theContinue reading

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This is a rerun from Day 16 of this blog. Day 16! I can hardly remember it being a demanding newborn. But really, this is a recipe I’ve been making since I was about 16, and before that my mom made it, and my grandma, and great aunts, and regular aunts, and I’m pretty sure it was/is in the Art Gallery of Windsor Cookbook, circa 1970something. (My relatives on that side were/are from Windsor, and so a handful of our family recipes can be found in or came from that book.) Everyone has a few things that taste like Christmas to them – or Hannukah, or Festivus – and this is one of those edibles that can’t not be made in December. It’s so ingrained in our holiday psyches that I can’t really tell if it’s something I’d eat or not if I was introduced to it now (the ingredient list may make me shudder), but every year we make an enormous potful.

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I can. not. stop. eating stacks of crackers with aged white cheddar and spoonfuls of roasted garlic jam. Would you? Could you? Especially when there’s a stack and a jar beside your laptop and you’re tangled in a blanket, unable to run away from its sweet-sour-tangy-salty-garlicky charms? When it’s made almost entirely of vegetables, jam totally counts as dinner, right? If garlic had a season, it would be now. I love the purple-skinned, sticky and intense local garlic that can be found this time of year – nothing like the dry, papery stuff that comes from China. The fall is the best time to plant it, too – take a few cloves from a great head of garlic and poke them into the ground. That green sprout that emerges from a clove if you’ve left it too long in the cupboard is the plant starting to grow. Next spring you’ll have garlic scapes, and if you time things right, a supply of beautiful garlic throughoutContinue reading

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Yeah, this happened. And I need to tell you about it. Although I’m somewhat of a wuss when it comes to spicy food, I always have a bottle of Sriracha in the fridge. It’s the red stuff that comes in a squeeze bottle with a rooster on it and bright green lid – known by those who aren’t quite sure how to pronounce it as rooster sauce. It’s spicy, but not overly so (about half the heat of a jalapeno pepper) and easy to use when you need to add a little kick to something. Anything, really. Even caramel corn. We used to make caramel corn ALL the TIME. It’s easy, once you’ve done it. Pop your corn. Simmer brown sugar, corn syrup (or Roger’s golden syrup or honey) and butter for 4 minutes. Stir in a teaspoon each of baking soda and vanilla, which will make it foam up like a science experiment and ultimately have a nice light crunch without sticking to yourContinue reading

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When W was still a baby, just starting to pull himself up to toddle around the coffee table, he skipped directly from fruit and veggie purees to grown-up food, going straight for a platter of ribs at one Sunday barbecue and never going back. I have photos of him sitting out in the grass in his swimmers, happily knawing on a pork rib in the sun, sauced from ear to ear. This is how I feel when I get to eat ribs – carefree and happy, loving the opportunity to eat with my fingers, and usually covered with sauce. W will still choose ribs if he has any say in dinner. It’s on the top of all our lists, but best eaten when it’s warm enough to sit in shorts and flip flops, leaning in over the rib in hand, letting any drips land on the grass, then washing up in the sprinkler afterward. Ribs are the ultimate summer food, best served in the greatContinue reading

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We spent the long weekend at home, puttering. Staring at gaping holes in the ceiling and barely (if at all) functioning kitchen appliances and broken windows and walls that are easier at this point to paint than to clean and making a ginormous to-do list for it all. Considering the domino effect that starting to change this and that has on a house, it seems kitchen renos are not only unavoidable, but imminent. Which of course means no kitchen for awhile. TRY NOT TO PANIC. We got used to the idea of eating out by doing it this weekend. Since we were mostly trying to find homes for things, cleaning/organizing/yard work-ing, I didn’t cook a whole lot, but did use up a big bunch of spinach by making gnudi – sort of like larger, lighter, lumpier gnocchi – and sauteing the little dumplings in browned butter. Spring, hello. I love gnocchi, and it’s even fun to make, without the need to own and manipulate aContinue reading

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Although I’ve heard plenty about the deliciousness of kale pesto, I’ve never made it myself. I assumed it would be a lesser pesto – not as full-flavoured as that made with loads of fresh basil. Turns out I was wrong. It’s not the first time. I got so excited about that kale-Brussels sprout salad that I wound up with 3 bunches in my fridge – plus spinach, arugula and a tub of spring mix. (It could be that I’m so desperate to see something green outside that I’ve been stockpiling it inside?) And so because W will eat anything smothered in pesto (proof that all kids are picky in their own unique ways) I decided to give it a go.

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I’ll be honest – I never really fancied myself the Buffalo wing type. (Capitalized because they are named for the city, not the animal.) Buffalo wings are hot wings, and I’ve never much been into hot (sun or spice) – I can’t relate to those people who buy hot sauce by the jug and glug it on their toast. Further, it’s never been the sort of thing I aspired to make at home. Wings are pub food – something you order by the basket and eat in a loud booth with beer (cider for me) and plenty of people and napkins. I always went for the sticky, sugary ones, being a wuss and all, but I’ve recently come to love Buffalo wings on the milder side, and learned why – because that classic Buffalo wing sauce you get at the pub is Frank’s Red Hot Sauce cut with… butter. It’s kind of my job to keep tabs on what people are into eating, and withContinue reading

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