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Tonight we went to a barbecue. It was supposed to be a bocce barbecue, but the wind picked up and by the time we finished our roast beef, salmon, potatoes, salad, and Thai prawns in spicy coconut milk with chilies and bits of tomato, onion and cilantro and sourdough bread to mop up the broth, we wussed out and packed it all inside to drink wine around the table and listen to 80s music over coconut-lemon bars and brownies. Soon enough John Cusack came up in conversation. At which point it was revealed that V, whom I must make a point of getting to know better – much better – perhaps she’s in the market for a new best friend? – lived in the Chelsea Hotel in New York in the 80s and actually hung out with John and his sister. (What a bonus wedding present that would be, hey? Joan Cusack for a sister in law? Could the package really get any better?) ButContinue reading

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I woke up this morning craving -nay, requiring– vegetables. Since the back yard is still half covered with thick, dingy ice floes I’m not quite in full-on salad mode. (At this point I’m not fully convinced spring is going to actually come – I’ll believe it when I see something green poking through.) My brain was trying to push me toward butter chicken, so I compromised with this veggie-based curry of sorts. I’ve seen a lot of curried sweet potato-legume (lentil, black & kidney bean) concoctions in the past month, so I may as well go ahead and make one and get it out of my system. This one came from the New York Times, by way of SmittenKitchen. I meant to make naan, but my timing was way off. (Timing is not my forte. It’s particularly apparent at Thanksgiving and other multi-course meal events where there are a lot of witnesses.) I’m kind of glad I didn’t – had I made it I wouldContinue reading

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Surveying the contents of my fridge yesterday I had leftover roasted peppers from my demo in Lake Louise and a ziploc baggie of chick peas – a few days ago I accidentally opened a can, so it needed using up. I took a peek back at the chickpea recipes I made last year – wanting badly to roast them with garlic and chard, but knowing that although it’s great for you and full of heart-healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats, it’s pretty caloric on account of all that oil. The chick peas with lemon and Parmesan were pretty good – I figured they could be improved upon with the addition of roasted red peppers (very vitamin-rich and low calorie), fresh parsley (ditto), a slick of extra-virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and finely squished clove of garlic. I made it yesterday but had no parsley, and figured the peas and peppers would be better with a day to marinate anyway. And it was. Today I roughlyContinue reading

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I’m on a bit of a bean bender. One of my favourite ways to recycle roast pork is to chop it up and stir it into brown beans. Especially if said pork comes accessorized with some sort of apple, which gets stirred in right along with it. I was about to open a can or thaw some slow cooker baked beans when I remembered the half a box of beans left over from a foodstyling gig I had a couple weeks ago. (To be honest I firstremembered the box last night, during my pasta fazool. Instead of the usual can of beans I added a pouch of these Mediterranean beans with sun dried tomatoes and black olives – ingredients: black eyed peas, onions, black olives, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, tomato paste, sea salt, oregano, spice – and it was phenomenal, but seemed like an obscure item to call for in the recipe.) The beans are a brand (Canton) I had neverContinue reading

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Ah to be three again, when the absolute worst thing that could go wrong in a day is to not be given free reign with your Halloween candy basket, or maybe the dog takes off with your Buzz Lightyear or you have to have your hair washed. Granted these might be earth shattering events for at least five minutes, but there are no deadlines, no critics. No death and taxes. And dinner just appears. We all needed something warm and comforting, cheap, stress-free and relatively healthy. I so could have justified ordering pizza today, but I think the fast food remorse would have been too much on top of it all. I decided to make pasta e fagioli (pasta fazool). My plan was to also put on Moonstruck, because it takes place during this bare, grey time of year and because Cher and Nicolas Cage so brilliantly love and completely irritate each other at the same time. And it’s so passionate and sad and hopeful,Continue reading

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If you didn’t get an email asking for your coordinates so I could ship you a spanking new Crock Pot this morning, sorry about that. I so wish I could have sent one to each of you, but I doubt the fairy godmother/FedEx guy will show up on my doorstep with 200+ new Crock Pots. That was so much fun though – it makes me want to give stuff away all the time – perhaps I will start Free Stuff Fridays (far better than Casual Fridays or Freaky Fridays, don’t you think?) so stay tuned. I’ll try to scare up some more loot. In the spirit of the contest, and because I just got home last night from foodstyling for said Crock Pot media tour in Edmonton, I decided it was a slow cooker night. (That, and I had to do CBC traffic this afternoon until 6pm.) Besides, when I got home and unloaded all my gear and had Crock Pots all over my counter andContinue reading

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Tonight, after 4pm, after an already jammed day, I made two batches of pulled pork, stuffed turkey cutlets, Southwestern soup, cranberry poached pears, granola bars, cookies, upside-down pear gingerbread, butternut squash soup with apples, and roasted pepper and goat cheese gratin. None of this, mind you, was for dinner. It was all destined for CBC, foodstyling gigs and a cooking class, all of which happens tomorrow. If I may be allowed to complain for just a minute, I’m totally exhausted and my back hurts. And I have to be up again in 5 hours. If I hadn’t made a batch of this Tuscan soup yesterday, it would have been toast and peanut butter all around. Fortunately, I hacked all the requisite vegetables into the pot as I unpacked produce from the market, with the directive of leaving it overnight to bake again today. That’s right, baked soup. And it really wasn’t so much a soup as a stew. It could, in fact, be more accuratelyContinue reading

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Although I’m still digesting last night’s “dinner”, I had the foresight to pull a pork tenderloin out of the freezer this morning. I buy them in packs of several because they’re cheaper, and when I get home from the grocery store divide them into plastic bags, sometimes with a glug of barbecue sauce or honey mustard or hoisin from a jar, and pop it in the freezer. They thaw quickly due to their shape, and cook in 15 minutes on the grill. The corn salad came out of desperation to use up the 6 ears I bought on Friday – the novelty of chewing the corn off the cob has already lost its lustre for the season. (This tends to happen quickly around here, unless we’re at a cabin somewhere, in which case I could easily eat corn on the cob for breakfast lunch and dinner for weeks.) I still had some compound butter left in the fridge and so sliced the kernels off ofContinue reading

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I’m going vegetarian. The good news: just added ketchup and W didn’t even notice it wasn’t his beloved meat. (Notice the same batch of buns? They are getting a little stale…) Lentil, Mushroom and Pecan Burgers 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts canola oil, for cooking with 2 cups mushrooms 1 onion, peeled and chopped 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 19 oz. (540 mL) can lentils, rinsed and drained 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce Salt and pepper 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs)In a large dry skillet, toast the nuts over medium heat until golden and fragrant. Set them aside. Add the oil to the skillet and sauté the mushrooms and onion for about 5 minutes, until starting to turn golden. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Put the mushrooms and onion in the bowl of a food processor along with the lentils, Worcestershire, salt and pepper and pulse just until the mixture is blended. Transfer it to a bowl and stir in the breadContinue reading

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