I am really, really late in jumping on the Pinterest wagon. I kinda just didn’t get it. Then suddenly it made sense to me. And now I am OBSESSED. I’ve discovered so many great new food blogs through it. And have a massive list of DIY projects that I’m feeling pretty
Ok, now granola. I love homemade granola – I almost always have a batch in the freezer (where it keeps fresh for months! I eat it straight from frozen – it just takes 5 minutes for the dried fruit to soften up).
But the thing is, I specifically like clumpy homemade granola. I don’t love the granola that is distinct oat flakes + fruit pieces + nuts. No, I like them to be clustered together in delicious crunchy parcels. I discovered the secret to making this happen. All you have to do is pulse some of the oats in the food processor – it makes everything bind together! Continue Reading »
You know how I like my oatmeal? With peanut butter in it.
I can see you rolling your eyes and chalking this up to pregnancy cravings, but I swear, I was enjoying it loooong before the hormones kicked in. It is delicious like a peanut butter cookie. Even if you’ve never liked oatmeal, please please please just try it this way. Humour me.
I want to tell you about all the different incarnations of oats – steel cut, large flake, quick, instant… So many options – do you know the difference? Are you choosing the right oat for the job? Is the suspense killing you yet?
If you do not want this information in your brain, feel free to scroll to the recipe. I won’t be hurt. I’m used to people tuning me out when I start waving my arms and talking enthusiastically about porridge and whatnot… Continue Reading »
I am fortunate to live steps away from a fantastic bakery, which supplies me with warm, fresh loaves of bread on any given weekday. I don’t buy bagged supermarket bread, because fresh is so accessible and tastes so much better. And (because I love to wrap my fingers around a smooth ball of springy dough) what I can’t get at the bakery, I make myself.
One exception to the fresh-only rule has been English muffins – why? I don’t know. But I read the ingredients list on the last bag I bought…
“Whole Wheat Flour, Water, Yeast, Salt, Wheat Gluten, Canola Oil” – this is about where I’d expect the list to end – but no, we’ve got, “glucose-fructose, calcium proprionate, monocalcium phosphate, calcium sulphate, ammonium chloride, azodicarbonamide, diacetylated tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides (??!?), calcium peroxide and ascorbic acid” in there too. Yum?
I decided that bag would be my last!
I can’t believe I had never made English muffins before. They are so easy they practically make themselves, and they blow those bagged pucks out of the preservative-laden water. I made a double batch and froze them. Now I have an eggs-benedict vehicle at the ready whenever the whim should strike. Continue Reading »
I haven’t yet experienced any weird cravings…
Pickles and ice cream? I’ll pass, thanks.
Aversions, though, I have plenty. Meat? Blech. Chicken? Double blech. My husband tried to warm curry in the microwave the other day and almost lost a limb.
But if you have something abundantly bland and starchy, I’ll take two.
For example, potatoes in any incarnation – baked, mashed, wedged & baked – are mostly all that I want to eat and have made up many entire meals for me in the past few months.
Bread, I can deal with. And pancakes, oh yeah. We’re still on good terms.
Continue Reading »
Okay so the news that I *hinted* at in my recent post, explaining why things were quiet around here… you know, the “big/little” news coming down the pipeline… well, here it is:
I am pregnant! SQUEEEEEAL!
Hubs and I are over the moon.
As utterly ecstatic as I am, however, I have come to acknowledge that being pregnant and having a career in food are not entirely compatible. I spend most of my day clutching my stomach with one hand and steadying myself with the other hand on a wall/counter/stranger-in-line-at-the-grocery-store – because whoever coined the term “morning sickness” was almost certainly a non-female of the MAN variety; it would much more aptly be dubbed “all-day sickness”.
I’m ashamed to say that my cooking (outside of client stuff) has been very limited to those yam fries I talked about, and a variation using regular potatoes. Hence the sound of crickets you’ve been hearing around here.
I am hoping against hope that what I’m currently experiencing is a “darkest before the dawn” type of thing – that miraculously, some day this week, I will go from feeling
horrid…er… less-than-great, to wonderful! Continue Reading »
I got my hands on a sample of this brand-new multi-purpose kitchen tool by GIR (gear that Get’s It Right) and I totally fell in love. When I first got it, I was kinda like, “whatever, another spatula”… until I was frustrated trying to coax sticky dough out of my KitchenAid with a spatula I owned that was just too floppy.
I unwrapped the GIR spatula, gave it a soapy rinse, and applied it to the task. It was PERFECT. Because it is one solid piece of molded silicone, with a reinforcement that goes all the way through the centre to within a few centimetres from the tip, it flexes beautifully around the curves of a bowl, but it’s still strong enough to really work with. And… it’s so pretty!
Since that moment last week, I’ve used it a bajillion times. It has scrambled eggs, sauteed vegetables, folded cranberries into muffins, frosted a chocolate cake, and as we speak, it is applying peanut butter to a banana for a snack.
Continue Reading »
A crispy platter of deep-fried yam matchsticks with a hearty dollop of spicy mayo is ultimate pub comfort food. I wanted to recreate that experience at home, with baking instead of frying, but it took a good many attempts to perfect a method that would yield wonderfully crisp, rather than soggy, yam fries.
Here are my secrets to perfection. Ready?
The first and most important key is to give the fries plenty of space on the baking sheet. If you just dump them on and shake the pan to kinda spread them out, you will get sog. There can be no overlap, no sides touching – the fries need to have dry, hot air circulating around each one or else they’ll start to steam and won’t crisp. Take the time to lay them down one at a time with 1/2 inch of space between them.
My second secret is a very hot oven. I use at least 450 degrees, and turn on the convection. This functions to crisp up the surface quickly. Continue Reading »
I was seduced by cookbook last week. For the most part, I have a good deal of self-control when it comes to glossy, recipe-laden volumes – I have so many food magazine subscriptions that give me more monthly inspiration than I can digest. But this one really spoke to me. It’s called Modern Flavors of Arabia, and it’s chock full of beautifully photographed, vibrant dishes boasting an abundance spices, fresh herbs and colourful produce.
This was the first recipe I tried – ground lamb scented with cinnamon and allspice, combined with rice and herbs, stuffed into whole peppers. The stuffed peppers are bathed in a spiced tomato sauce and baked. The concept is beautiful, and the final results – quite lip-smacking. But her recipe had some major flaws. First of all, she called for 6 peppers to be loosely stuffed two-thirds full, and the specimens in her accompanying photo were not very big. I stuffed my 6 large peppers… and then 4 tomatoes.
But more glaringly off-base, she calls for uncooked rice, and for the peppers to be covered with foil and baked for 45 minutes. Forty-five minutes in, my rice was still ROCK HARD. No give whatsoever. I don’t think that there’s enough moisture inside the peppers, even steaming under foil, to cook rice through period, let alone in three-quarters of an hour. I should have known better.
I remedied the situation by spooning lots of the tomato sauce into each pepper and baking an additional hour. But come on – when a recipe is wrong on cooking time by more than 100%, that’s an issue… Continue Reading »
Canadian Thanksgiving was a couple of weeks ago. Being far from family, Adarsh whisked me away for a lovely weekend in the Okanagan Valley, to an incredible desert landscape nestled deep in the mountains. It was wonderful, and we had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at a winery, but it didn’t completely scratch the itch – I wanted the leftovers! So I cooked a completely spontaneous turkey dinner the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
I mean, what’s Thankgiving without the next-week turkey sandwiches? And the soup? And your mom’s Turkey Chow Mein casserole??!
Continue Reading »
Step aside ubiquitous thanksgiving pie, pumpkin creme brulee is about to steal the show. This dessert takes the best part of pumpkin pie – the warmly spiced, creamy pumpkin filling – and makes it better. Enriched with heavy cream and lots of eggs, the custard is velvety smooth and luscious – while still lighter than traditional creme brulee, because it’s half pumpkin (vs. all whipping cream). The shattering brulee topping offers a nice textural counterpoint to the creaminess, without the heaviness of a pastry crust.
The best part? You stir everything together in a bowl, pour it into ramekins and you’re practically done. About five minutes of preparation time for a decadent dessert that is sure to impress. Continue Reading »