, ,

If you’re the type to devour a sleeve of salted crackers with cold butter, pull up a chair – these pre-buttered crackers are for you. To eat by the stack. I’ve always been a fan of homemade crackers – although most of us have made a batch or two of cookies in our lifetimes, we don’t tend to run toward crackers. And yet the dough is just as easy – often more so; and the results just as delicious compared to the store-bought boxed kind as homemade cookies are, gooey and warm from the oven, in comparison to the carboardy ones that often taste of their own packaging. Homemade is better – and cheaper still – and perfect for piling on cheese boards (party season coming up!) or nibbling in bed or crumbling into soup. I confess I ate the majority of these straight from the cookie sheet, and didn’t bother with dinner.

6
Share

My mom is a great cook. I didn’t realize this as a kid, when her focus was on cooking healthy 80s-style meals for her three daughters and aerobics-doing and squash-playing husband. For the most part, my memory clings to the meals I dreaded, and those wondrous packaged foods (Oreos! Fruit Roll-Ups! Wonder Bread!) I wasn’t allowed to have. Whether she evolved as a cook or my palate did, she turns out amazing dinner parties, but rarely emails with a recipe she insists I must have. My sisters and I all got an email after a meeting last week at which one attendee brought this ‘Greek goddess dip’, the dregs of which were retrieved from the bowl by finger once the veggies and pita chips were gone. “Trust me,” she said, “you want this recipe.” Although I’m already familiar with green goddess dip, I took her seriously.

0
Share

A completely divine dinner at Corso 32 (worth the drive from Calgary – for real) including spring pea crostini with ricotta salata, roasted pine nuts & mint, reminded me of the time I made such a thing, and how easy it was. And it occurred to me that some of you might have access to garden peas, and so sharing this now would be timely. Add arugula, lemon and Parmesan and spoon it over garlicky toasts; if you like, spread them thinly with soft goat cheese first. When I make crostini – I know there are hundreds of ways to make little toasts – I like them garlicky, but don’t like rubbing each slice with a cut clove. So instead, I peel and lightly crush a clove of garlic and drop it into a small ramekin of olive oil – the garlic infuses the oil, so that when you brush it on the crostini, it’s nice and garlicky. (You’ll then find yourself pouring the garlickyContinue reading

0
Share
, , ,

People often ask me what pizza dough recipe I use. The truth is, most formulas for pizza dough are the same – flour, yeast, water, olive oil and salt. The key ingredient not many recipes call for is time. Yeast doughs are a lot like people – the longer it’s alive before it’s baked, the more character it develops. Which means mixing up a batch of dough on Thursday if Friday is pizza night will make all the difference in the world. Let it hang out in the counter, on the fridge – wherever it won’t get into any trouble. Punch it down when it needs taming. The next day, you’ll see its potential in the stretchy bubbles interspersed throughout the dough. Which I apparently took no photos of, I was so preoccupied with the stretching and the topping. And the chilling of the wine – do you know this trick? Wrap a bottle in wet paper towel and put it into the freezer toContinue reading

2
Share
, ,

I know, it (kind of) defeats the purpose of eating cauliflower to deep fry it and serve it with lemony mayo. (Then again, if you’re going to eat fried food, you may as well get a cauliflower out of it.) Parka season = beer batter season, right? And when everyone has planted themselves on the couch for a hockey game or movie or rousing game of Munchkin, they inevitably want to eat something. And I like it when that something can fall simultaneously into multiple categories: 1) salty, 2) dippy, and 3) edible with fingers. (And truly, a platter of crudites and dip never gets a welcome response on a snowy Saturday night.) Cauliflower florets have a lovely creamy texture and mellow flavour, but if you’re like me, once you have a bowl of batter and a pot of oil at your disposal, you may go a little nuts, deep-frying anything you can find in your fridge. (I imagine a zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced,Continue reading

2
Share
,

Shortbread and balls are the culinary keywords of the season, no? It’s the morning after (OK, afternoon after) our annual Polyester & Cheese Christmas party, wherein friends wear polyester and bring something cheesy, and our dining room table is so weighed down with cheese by the end of the night (as are we) that the next morning all you can do is come downstairs in your PJs, make some coffee and keep going. Polyester & Cheese is the official kick-off to the season of nibbling party food leftovers for breakfast, lunch and dinner (if you haven’t had warmed mince tarts for breakfast yet, I highly recommend it) straight through until Boxing Day.

0
Share
,

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

0
Share
, ,

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

1
Share
,

Today’s frozen mystery meat surprise turned out to be Buffalo Chicken Strips – which W was none to pleased about, so he had spinach pizza. All I did was lay them out on a cookie sheet and bake them for 20 minutes, then crumbled some blue cheese (I’m not a huge fan, but wanted to be authentic) into a bit of low fat sour cream and light mayo. We ate them with our fingers, and without much of anything else, unless you count finishing off W’s pizza crusts. To be honest I come home at the end of each day having not only worked around food for 10 hours or so, but having spent that time nibbling it.. we have to do several takes at the end of each recipe during which we “taste and reveal”, and because neither Ned nor I are stellar actors, we almost always have to do it over and over, attempting each time to take another spontaneously new and excitingContinue reading

0
Share