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I think if one is going to discuss tomatoes, the issue of classification (fruit or vegetable) should be cleared out of the way at the outset. Botanically, tomatoes are indeed fruit. This is a fact of common knowledge, yet although people are quick to point it out, they hardly consider treating them as such. One would no more make a sweet and cinnamon-scented crisp out of tomatoes than they would stuff an apple with crumbs and top it with cheese. (Although come to think of it, either one might be quite tasty. I have, after all, discovered this year that tomato paste makes a more than suitable addition to a spicy Jewish apple cake, and I’ve for a long time added a spoonful to carrot cakes.) And that’s because tomatoes are – ready for this? – vegetables. The term is purely culinary, referring to any plant whose fruit, seeds, roots, tubers, bulbs, stems, leaves, or flower parts are used as food. So from a culinaryContinue reading

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Oops. I blew right past Free Stuff Fridays, didn’t I? The past weeks have been a bit of a calendular blur – we’re shooting straight through the weekends too, so I’ve got the double whammy of no time management skills paired with no sense of what day it is. So instead of coming up with free loot for you last night post-shoot, I went shopping and cleaned the house in preparation for the entire crew to come shoot here today. Can I take a FSF hiatus until things resume to relatively normal on Friday the 20th? I’ll come up with something good then, I promise. I still have a backlog of the past weeks’ free stuff to ship out. Hopefully these yummy little numbers will make it up to you. The best part of my days this week have been reading W stories at night – practically the only time I see him. Green Eggs and Ham has been one of his favourites for atContinue reading

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I didn’t realize how addicted I had become to curling up in bed with my laptop until my laptop decided to not connect to the internet anymore. It has now become an expensive personal TV on which W can watch Peep and the Big Wide World, which we practically have on permanent loan from the library. (Peep and the egg, that is. Neverevenmind the others.) Have you ever reached the end of a day and not been able to summon up even a fleeting memory of the past several hours? I might not have noticed had I gone to bed instead of sitting down at the computer to document those hours… they did involve an asparagus frittata, something I hurriedly (and frustratingly, when asparagus is woody and close to the price of platinum) had to test for a spring issue of something or other, so dinner was taken care of early. (W thought it was the Most Revolting Thing Ever, so I made him a pita pizza –Continue reading

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There are those who love leftovers and those who hate them. Those who hate them are, in my mind, the less imaginative sort, those who think of leftovers as lesser, reheated versions of the original, most likely with the good parts picked off. (It’s hard to recreate crispy bits.) I love them myself; I think mostly I love the sport of them. Leftover dip isn’t that challenging, really. The chunky, cheesy ones often make decent panini, and crabby, spinachy cheesy ones are just about perfect as omelet filling; if I was putting omelets on a menu, I might make the dip for that very purpose. Cold, it’s simple to drop in spoonfuls on semi-set egg; fold it over and cover the pan and allow it to melt through. Dip, when reheated, is always sufficiently oozy.

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It was C’s birthday today, and with all the stuff I had to remember to bring along, I forgot my camera on the ledge beside the door. (I did, however, remember to charge the batteries before we left.) Dinner was spectacular, as it always is at my sister’s house – grilled steak, sausages, potato salad, green salad, corn on the cob, and chocolate cake with ice cream and berries. Luckily though, I can regress to lunch, which is something I’d kind of like to tell you about (and ask your opinion on) anyway. A (it appears I know too many people whose names begin with A) turned her kids’ playhouse in the back yard into a chicken coop, and yesterday aquired 5 beautiful laying chickens. She did months of research – years, in fact – before going ahead and scratching “have a chicken coop” off her life’s to-do list. The playhouse made a perfect coop, and she has a large, high-fenced, corner lot backyard. Chickens takeContinue reading

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I was in the middle of feeling guilty about making another fridge-cleaning frittata (it’s the best way I know of to use up desperate vegetables and bits of cheese) when I was inspired by the last two wedges of caramelized onion pan bread, which I sent to the wading pool with M and W and which later came back in a knapsack full of wet towels. It occurred to me that I could cube or crumble it into the pan of asparagus, red peppers and spinach I had just finished sauteeing, before pouring over the beaten egg. At first it seemed weird, but then it occurred to me that it would turn it into a sort of strata, the soft sconelike bread instantly sopping up the egg without needing an overnight soak like regular strata does. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, strata is an egg casserole wherein you pour eggs beaten with milk over stale cubed bread and any combo of meat,Continue reading

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We played hard today. Awake at 6:30, we organized the basement (or disorganized it in an attempt to begin organizing), cleaned out a couple church sales (which contributed to the already dire basement situation), made peanut butter puffed wheat squares for my niece’s yard sale and lemonade stand, played in big buckets of water, jumped on the trampoline, had pizza and drank lemonade squeezed fresh to order using an antique juicer my sister picked up somewhere. It was the best lemonade stand in Calgary, with its pyramid of fresh lemons, sugar and pitcher of ice water, handmade signs, chocolate cupcakes and puffed wheat squares. I wish I had my camera. Afterward, W slept right through dinnertime, woke up at 7 and still refused to get out of bed. I doctored up the leftover fusilli from last night, baking it with cheese to bring him up to share in bed. He had a meltdown that it wasn’t eggs and toast, so after briefly trying to explainContinue reading

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Happy Eggs Benedict Day! Yesterday, being Eggs Benedict Day Eve (I’m not sure who chooses these days, or who makes them official?) we had eggs Benny on the Eyeopener. I made a classic version of hollandaise sauce, which is dead easy to do in the blender; it’s really like mayonnaise – blended egg yolks with melted butter drizzled in, and a bit of lemon juice. Three yolks and a cup of butter to 1 tablespoon of lemon juice is the ratio; you really could not get any more high fat than hollandaise sauce if you tried, which is probably why people don’t generally make it at home. When you order it at a restaurant you don’t witness (nor take part in) the use of cups of melted butter. Not being an accomplice absolves us of at least some of the guilt. I went to Big Fish this past weekend and had crab eggs Benedict (they also do steak eggs Benedict), which reminded me of the crab cakesContinue reading

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I swear, if you write out what you make for dinner, it always sounds fancier than it actually is. We had the day off taping, which isn’t to say it wasn’t a crazy day, but at least I was with W and around home for a lot of it. Since we’ve been making an average of 8 recipes per day (with several takes per recipe) I swore I wasn’t going to cook today. But then trying to decide what sort of take-out to get got to be too much work, and I realized that I had a bunch of asparagus going quickly downhill in the fridge. I know I’ve said this of many dishes before, but frittata truly is the easiest, fastest meal you can make using whatever there is in the fridge. Provided you have eggs, of course. I drizzled the asparagus with oil and got it started in a 400 F oven for about 10 minutes while I chopped up a couple ofContinue reading

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