Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

Rhubarb: it’s not just for pie anymore. Everyone likes a little tang in their life -and in their barbecue sauce- right? And because it’s sugary by nature (barbecue sauce, that is), it’s a great vehicle for all that rhubarb exploding in your back yard. (Or your neighbour’s.) And while everyone else is jamming and preserving, how satisfying is it to make your own barbecue sauce? All you do is chop and simmer a few thick stalks of rhubarb, then add onion, garlic, maple syrup… all things sticky and savoury that make a well-rounded summer sauce. If you have a favourite formula already, just add rhubarb to the mix. And then bottle it up and share it with a friend, or store it in the fridge or freezer to slather on your ribs and chicken and burgers all summer long. I’m thinking this will become our House Sauce this summer. And make sure you have plenty of napkins.

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The peaches are in! I know I’ve taken you down the skillet jam road before… with a larger surface area, a skillet makes a great tool for cooking down fruit and sugar to make just enough for a single pot (or jar) of jam to tuck in the fridge. It’s a great way to take care of surplus stone fruit starting to soften and/or become a hub for fruit flies. Bonus: you can see your jam thicken, so there’s no need for hard boiling and thermometers. To peel your peaches – something I rarely do, but did here – just plunge them into a pot of boiling water for a minute or two. Once they cool (you could put them in a bowl of cold water to speed this up) you can peel the skins away with your fingers. Ripe peaches you’ll be able to squish with your hands, right into the pan. Otherwise, use a knife and chop it in. At first it willContinue reading

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I’ve never considered myself a pesto-making person. You have to mulch so much fresh basil – which I’ve never managed to keep alive myself – to produce even a teeny jar, that I found it easy to convince myself to drop $4 and procure some premade stuff at the grocery store. But then one day in Tofino my friend Cathy texted to ask if I might be able to use a bag of fresh basil from the Tofino-Ucluelet Culinary Guild she didn’t have time for? Why yes, yes I can. Turns out while there are plenty of things to do with fresh basil, there aren’t as many ways to use up several large handfuls of it, especially when you’re heading home the next day. I didn’t want to go out and buy pine nuts and Parmesan, but I had brought a wedge of Grizzly Gouda with us, and picked up some sliced almonds for who knows what. I toasted the almonds, grated the Gouda, packedContinue reading

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It looks like a slice of brie tucked into the jar with the carrots – I assure you it’s not. It’s fresh ginger, a spur-of-the-moment addition inspired by David Lebovitz‘s mention of using ginger sugar in his batch. (From Paris to Tofino, connecting the world one pickle at a time.) I find myself now in the unusual position of trying to use up food before leaving Tofino to head home – among my targets were a bunch of carrots, forgotten in their crisper drawer in lieu of ice cream and fish & chips. And because all produce has pickle potential, I decided to do up a couple jars of them – one to take home and one to leave for whomever winds up at the house next. Pickling carrots is easy – and makes great use of all the wee finger-sized ones that are coming out of the ground right about now. You peel and blanch them, then dump out the water and add vinegar,Continue reading

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It’s Official: I’m a grown-up. Married to a dude with gout. At 41, this is not the first of his old-guy afflictions: in 2005, when we moved back from Vancouver in blazing hot late June, packing everything we owned into a rented U-Haul with me 8 months pregnant and nowhere to live (besides my parents’ basement) when we got back, he came down with a raging case of shingles. Shingles! Damn sexy, they are. I wish I could find that photo I made him pose for – in his tighty whities, black socks and nothing else, reclining chaise-lounge-style on the bed with a can of Pil and ring of red blistery scabs around his middle. I called him Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute. OK, why is it I can’t access video of FGMP from NBC, MySpace or Hulu unless I’m in the states? what century is this? have they not heard the phrase WORLD WIDE WEB?? So it’s a good thing it’s cherry season – apparentlyContinue reading

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(In a frenzy.) You would think, given that this website acts as a sort of mealtime confessional, I may be tempted to advise the world that I served my family a wonderfully balanced, seasonal meal tonight. Given the fact that W and I spent most of the afternoon at a playdate, perhaps I should have been more on the ball, stopping to buy a frozen steak on the way home before running for my bottle of valium. (Did you know that the term mother’s little helper referred to valium? Or executive excedrine among corporate types and dolls in the ’60s novel Valley of the Dolls. From 1969 to 1982 it was the nation’s most prescribed drug, earning La Roche pharmaceutical $600 million annually. In 1978, nearly 2.3 billion tabs of valium were downed. Perhaps I’m in the wrong business.) So at 6 o’clock the news came on, and suddenly we were all starving and started rummaging through the fridge and freezer in search of someContinue reading

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