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Last weekend, I came across a recipe in the Guardian for a banana cake made with just the banana peels – an intriguing way to address food waste. I’ve made a *lot* of banana bread in my lifetime, and generally my strategy is to toss overripe bananas into the freezer whole, and then pull them out to thaw in a bowl when it’s time to bake. (If I’m in a hurry, I cover them with warm water to help them thaw more quickly.)

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Oat milk has been gaining popularity in a big way, in part because so many formulations are made especially for baristas, with extra additions that help them foam and froth, and the slightly nutty, grainy flavour pairs well with coffee. We talked about the increasing number of options out there and tasted a few non-dairy milks on last week’s Eyeopener. But if you want to make your own oat milk, it’s easy: simply blend a 1:3 ratio of rolled (old-fashioned or quick) oats to cold water in a blender, add a pitted date (for a bit of sweetness that mimics the lactose in milk) and a pinch of salt if you like, blend for 20-30 seconds, and strain. Don’t let them soak, or your milk could get gummy — and the same thing can happen if you over-blend. Just put the oats and water in the blender and go. (Don’t try steel cut—they’re too hard to blend.) I like to double strain — pour itContinue reading

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This was the trickiest of the lot, but perhaps the most satisfying to crack. The cheddar Mmmuffins had a slightly sweet, cakey texture, and were brilliant orange. My initial tests were tasty but missing the mark… it wasn’t until a CBC listener messaged me with a tip: back in the eighties, working at a different chain eatery, she used powdered cheddar when making the muffins. I added about half a pack of the cheese mix from a box of KD and voilà—extra cheesiness, but also that intense orange colour that acts as a visual cue, making them taste even cheesier. You could, of course, use extra-old white cheddar here—and you could omit the powdered cheese… just expect them to look a bit different.

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I think I’m most excited about these – I remember them clearly, yet never thought to make a butterscotch-pecan muffin since. I used the same base as the chocolate chip muffin, swapping out brown sugar, adding chopped pecans and Skor bits (which I think are more accurate than the butterscotch chips some have suggested – though those would be tasty too!) – and a streusel on top. I baked some batter right away and some that sat for awhile and saw a similar, though not as dramatic, difference in the rise compared with the chocolate chip. If you’re looking for higher peaks, let it sit for awhile (just on the counter) before you bake them.. but they’re pretty fantastic just baked right away.

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Here we go!!! I decided, after seeing my friend Caitlin Green lament the Marvellous Mmmuffins of her youth, to try to recreate them in my own kitchen. Mmmuffins kiosks brought mega muffins to the masses from 1979 until peoples’ tastes for muffins started to wane around the turn of the millennium – they were in their heydey in the eighties, when malls were also the place to be. The taste and texture of the chocolate chip, butterscotch-pecan and cheddar varieties are burned into my consciousness. I started with chocolate chip. Peoples’ memories of these seem to differ – many recall them having a crunchy, sugary lid, and I remember them being pale-ish and sticky on top. My theory (and I don’t know this- I haven’t seen the actual formulation) is that a high fructose sweetener was used in the batter – fructose has humectant properties, and draws moisture from its surroundings. (It could also have been that they were a bit underbaked at the locationContinue reading

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I adore flatbreads of all kinds. So many cultures around the world have relied on flatbreads in their many forms as a means of having fresh bread with every meal. I make a kind of soft, chewy naan a lot – I roll it thin and cook it in a hot cast iron skillet until it’s blistered and bulbous, and eat it warm, straight from the pan. Naan is perfect with anything saucy, or with dips and spreads or just pulled apart with your fingers and eaten for breakfast. It’s one of the easiest ways to make fresh bread for any meal, and you can have a lump of dough in the fridge and just pull off as many egg-sized pieces as you need when you need them. I adore it. I’ve been making this recipe for years, which is completely wonderful but calls for yogurt and an egg… on occasions when I haven’t had one or the other I’ve streamlined things, and often useContinue reading

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Seeing as it’s the first week of July, and traditionally the air is filled with the deep-fried smells of Stampede, and half my calories are typically consumed in the form of mini doughnuts, I thought I’d post a recipe here. I did a virtual midway food class yesterday, and people were thrilled to have the ability to turn out actual cinnamon-sugar mini doughnuts in their own kitchens. This is the sort of thing you become known for – I want to be the aunt/grandma/friend who makes mini doughnuts to eat warm when you’re sitting in my kitchen or on my patio.

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I feel like we need some cornbread here. It tastes like summer to me – likely because I’ve spent so many years picking up round cornbreads at SoBo in Tofino, which we would nibble from for days – with coffee and jam in the morning, seafood chowder in the afternoon… whatever. Though it’s often thought of as an accompaniment, you could stir berries or rhubarb into it for a breakfasty cornbread, or add handfuls of grated cheese and chopped or dried herbs to make it savoury. (Keep the brown sugar in if you like – sweetness tends to make cornbread taste more cornbread-y – or cut it back, or leave it out.)

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