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I apologize in advance for the photos, which don’t do justice to the deliciousness of this M & C. Thankfully, the winter solstice is coming, and then we’ll start to see more daylight after 4pm. So this mac & cheese. It came from a book I’ve had by my bedside for months, that I finally picked up the other night and read a story out of. It’s a compilation of the best food writing of 2006 (probably the year I put it beside my bed), and the story I read on this particular night was written by Julia Moskin for the New York Times. (I have to say – I like her photo better. More cheese?) The difference between this particular recipe and the bazillion of other macaroni and cheeses out there: you blend up the cheese and milk and then bake it with raw macaroni, rather than boil the noodles and mix up a white sauce with loads of grated cheese in it, whichContinue reading

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Once in awhile all I want is a shallow bowl of really plain spaghetti with red sauce – like the kind you get in the can, only not as mushy and with more flavour – the sort of thing I imagine would have been served in an Italian neighbourhood eatery in Manhattan in the 1950s. Something I could mop up with crusty, buttery bread and wash down with red wine. Something uninterrupted even by meatballs. (Which isn’t to say a batch of good meatballs wouldn’t do really well here.) Having been MIA for the past three dinnertimes, and about to leave town for 10 days (yes, the boys will join me for some of it) I simmered a pot of red sauce to somehow maintain my presence when Mike inevitably makes spaghetti for himself and W for the next few dinners or so. I know, they could easily open a jar and be perfectly fine, but simmering a pot of sauce somehow alleviates some ofContinue reading

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Some people carb load the day before a marathon; mine is triggered by the first snowfall. Or by an email from a friend late on a Saturday morning: if you don’t happen to have plans tonight, want to come over for spaghetti? I love the idea that you can just call friends up and have them over to dinner without making a big deal of it. You can pick something up at the store while you’re out, or just make more of what you’d be eating at home anyway, and not worry about how the house looks. I keep meaning to do more of this. It was my New Years’ resolution, in fact – one that was broken halfway through January.

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Sorry for my tardiness – I’ve been busy doing Very Important Things, like having lunch at Michael Allemeier‘s house, drooling over his Le Creuset collection, getting a few of his secret stash of wild strawberries to plant in my own garden, and trying to not let him see my knife skills. (Although my belief is that if you can get an onion into pieces without taking any bits of your fingers with it, that totally counts as knife skills.) When I arrived at his house yesterday, he was proofing bread in his dishwasher. Oh yes. At the very end, when it’s hot and steamy, he set two unbaked loaves on a board on the top rack. The heat! The steam! The brilliance! Why didn’t I think of that? He bakes bread every week, using a starter named Jenny that lives in his fridge. Another story. This penne – so easy, so cheesy – and a great use of leftover ham. We’ve been roasting hams onContinue reading

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Pardon the hasty photo – it was taken as the boys were in the car, waiting for me to go to Banff. About forty seconds after this shot was taken, I poured it into a recycled plastic container with no structural integrity, pouring the peanut sauce down my leg and all over the lemon-blueberry tarts I was also packing to take along. Insert expletives. No photos please. I cleaned up and made it to Banff, and am now all stretched out on clean, dog hair-free sheets and perfect pillows while the boys are at the pool working up an appetite. I have such a soft spot for this place, partly because we grew up coming here on ski weekends, and partly because it’s a castle in the mountains. It occurred to me that this weekend, half the Moms from Calgary and surrounding areas may be there – not just to stay, but for their famous Sunday brunch or high tea. It further occurred to meContinue reading

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So here’s the thing. We’re in Tofino, having decided to take off and find some green over spring break. We found it – lots of it – but also found that construction crews somehow severed the wire that was our internet connection, and the oven is broken. First world problems, I know. But that’s how it came to be that I’m sitting in my car in the rain, having trolled the town with my laptop, looking for an internet connection so I could answer some emails, send some files and post this, what with all the wireless access coffee shops being closed in the evenings. I found a lovely strong signal behind The Shelter – thanks guys! – which means I have a perfectly valid excuse for going for breakfast lunch and dinner while we’re here so that I may check my email. Mike is no doubt wondering what happened to me. Then again not, as he does know me quite well. As always weContinue reading

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I know you guys are all gaga over one-dish dinner ideas, and I’ve got a good one for ya. Everyone devoured this, and Mike asked if there was any way it could be put into regular rotation. It seems to me the sort of thing that might make most husbands happy, if I may generalize here. Again, my inspiration came from desperation – to use the last of two tubs of baby spinach and some mushrooms that had not quite shriveled up and died. It could have taken a handful of grape tomatoes, or some chopped red pepper; any number of wilting veg would do well here. W always begs for cheese tortellini, one of his first toddler foods that still seems toddler-ish in my mind, but not here. It came together in under 20 minutes and the result was like an upscale Hamburger Helper of sorts. It should be noted that it took less time to prepare than HH, and didn’t come out ofContinue reading

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We’ve been in getting-outta-Dodge mode for the past few days. Sadly, the car hasn’t – it’s in the shop with a pooched clutch. And so while we pine by the phone for the (completely awesome) mechanics to call and let us know we’re free to go get the H. out of this snow, I’ve been diligently plowing through the perishables in the fridge. There were lots of bits of cheese, and this not eating wheat thing combined with neverending snow has been causing me to Jones for starchy things big time. Like a big ol’ pot of baked mac & cheese. Also – Pat from Winnipeg was kind enough to email me with some wheat-free pasta advice, suggesting Mrs. Leeper’s corn pasta (she has no affiliation), which I promptly went out and bought a bag of. A lot of you have been emailing and tweeting wheat-free advice – thanks! – and some have been asking why the h. I would want to do such aContinue reading

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9 out of 10 firemen can’t be wrong. So Friday morning, you may have heard, I did a cooking segment on BT at the new Le Creuset store in Chinook (yes, I’m working on free stuff here! there are channels to go through!) WITH the firemen from the 2011 Hot Stuff calendar. Yes, my job does not suck at all some days. Although it must be said that Jill had a little more firefigher attention than I did. Possibly a lot. We cooked with beef – ground sirloin, which comes from a single cut (sirloin) rather than a bunch (which you typically get with ground beef), which I like the idea of, plus you get the taste of a steak in ground form. Bonus: ground sirloin has about the same amount of fat as the extra-lean ground beef you’ll get at the grocery store, but with far better flavour and texture. Our theme was cooking with beef and beefcakes, surrounded by Le Creuset. Forget whiskersContinue reading

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