Archive for January, 2010

Blog Aid Update

 Blog Aid Update

I have no recipe on offer today. I did slip into the kitchen last night to make a sweet potato and chard gratin – I needed vegetables, but also comfort in the form of warm food and bubbly cheese. Mike offered to order pizza, but I needed a few minutes at the kitchen counter to decompress after a day of meetings and work. And I love this stuff. The three of us – Mike, my sister and I – gathered around the dining room table with our laptops (or in Mike’s case: hockey on TV), a baking dish of this and a bottle of wine; Ali worked on her masters’ application and I hammered away at Blog Aid details while trying to pull together an article for Swerve that is just not coming together in the kick-ass way I wanted it to, dammit.

Today and tonight was another flurry of work, and since most of it took place on the computer, we tossed a few racks of ribs in to cook for a few hours, boiled some potatoes to roughly mash with their skins, roasted some broccoli and wedges of spaghetti squash to feed the crew of 6 here over the dinner hour, half kids and the other half grown-ups working on the Blog Aid cookbook.

Which, I’m excited to report, is in its almost-final stages of completion! It has been a tremendous amount of work, mostly on the part of Cathryn, a wonderful friend and human being who has plodded away for much of last week and then night and day all this weekend (literally: yesterday she didn’t leave the kitchen table of her cozy house in Sunnyside from 8am until 3am Sunday morning), dropping and organizing the copy and photos into a beautiful layout. Cathryn is one of the most generous, kind, giving people I know. She supports me in everything I do, if even by email because we don’t see nearly enough of each other.

And when I ask her to do stuff like this, stuff that takes over her life for awhile, she dives right in. Her selfless willingness to share her time, creativity and expertise with those who need it is inspiring. She does so much for so many, even travelling to Africa to help the sick. I’m so grateful she’s pouring herself into this project, pulling it into something we can all set on our kitchen shelves to become well-worn with use feeding our friends and families. (If you’re ever looking for someone to do a logo, poster, or any kind of graphic design, let me know and I’ll pass on her contact info. She’s truly fantastic to work with.)

So here’s the gist: We’re lucky enough to have the support of two companies: West Canadian Graphics in Calgary and Blurb in San Francisco (it’s too bad technology allowed for productive conference calls and a one-on-one meeting wasn’t required in San Fran); both are overseeing the production of the book, which will actually be available for order online THIS WEEK. SOON. It’s a POD (print-on-demand) system, meaning the file is uploaded and then books are printed and shipped as they’re ordered, which means this is all happening in real time and books will arrive in about 8 days. (This could possibly be the fastest compilation cookbook project in history; under a month from conception to finished books!) The proceeds from book sales will go straight to Haitian relief via the Red Cross and Doctors without Borders, and get this: both West Canadian AND Blurb are matching the dollar amount of the proceeds raised up to $10,000. And of course until February 12th, the Canadian government will match that.

If you do the math, it’s a pretty great deal in terms of raising money for Haiti, and you get a spanking new cookbook in the mail to boot.

Some of my very favourite eaters are contributors:

Chef Michael Smith, Dana McCauley, Emily Richards, Catharine from Weelicious, Cheryl from Backseat Gourmet, Jeannette of Everybody Likes Sandwiches, Nishta from Blue Jean Gourmet, Lauren of Celiac Teen, Charmian from Christie’s Corner, Shaina from Food for my Family, Marisa of Food in Jars, Shauna and Danny from Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, Lauren from Healthy Delicious, Alice from Savory Sweet Life, Tara from Seven Spoons, Jess of Sweet Amandine, Helen from Tartelette, Gail from The Pink Peppercorn, Pierre of Kitchen Scraps, Tim from Lottie and Doof, Tea from Tea & Cookies, Jamie from My Baking Addiction, Lori from Recipe Girl, Melissa from The Traveler’s Lunchbox, Brooke of Tongue-n-Cheeky and Aimee of Under the High Chair.

Really, looking at that lineup I can’t believe we rounded up such a fabulous, generous and talented crew of people, all so eager to help.

And the recipes? Fab. All with beautiful full-colour photographs. I’m still pinching myself. Soups and granolas and baking and preserves and curries and pastries and breakfast and ice cream and dinner ideas. And plenty of gluten-free recipes.

We’ll have two versions; a paperback and hardcover. As I type this, Cathryn is sitting beside me arranging photos and text and lining stuff up and all that designerly stuff. It’s all just so thrilling and a little nervewracking as it comes to the point where it’s time to actually sell books. I’m desperately hoping people aren’t suffering from donor fatigue.

So that’s the status of Blog Aid as of Sunday night, coming to you live from my dining room table. Thanks everyone, for all you do. Keep an eye out. It’s coming!

January 31 2010 | leftovers | 55 Comments »

Maple Buttermilk Meringue Whoopsie-Pie

Maple+Buttermilk+pie+1 Maple Buttermilk Meringue Whoopsie Pie

I love it when I wind up making something completely off my radar, simply because circumstances dictate I use up a random collection of ingredients.

This morning I had my photo taken for next Friday’s Swerve magazine (!) and so I needed to appear 1) cleaned-up and presentable, and 2) like I was right into it in the kitchen. So I rummaged around pulling out bakerly things, like a wad of pastry from the depths of the freezer, and whipped egg whites and sugar into a bowl of meringue, thinking I could strike a Nigella-esque pose with it (I didn’t). When the photographer left, I had a well-crimped (albeit horribly overworked, as most props are) pie crust and a bowl of meringue. My laptop on the table, I quickly searched for a buttermilk pie recipe, thinking that a custardlike filling would be a) quick, and b) a good way to use up those yolks. A maple version came up. I decided to top it with meringue.

I was 20 minutes from having to leave town when it was chilled and ready to be topped; rushing into the kitchen and holding it in one outstretched arm while attempting to quickly take a photo of it in its naked glory, the pie flipped from my hand and landed upside-down on the table, all over all the stuff that was on it, and I let the expletives fly. It’s been a rough week. I lost it a little bit.

And then I scooped it all back up into the pie plate, smeared it with meringue and popped it in the oven. And was glad I did, because the stuff I licked off my fingers while scooping it back was delicious. I’m sure in some part of the world a pie like this has a name; and it falls under the same classification as pandowdies and slumps and Brown Betties. Whoopsie-pie, maybe.

Warning: 6 eggs will give you a helluva lot of meringue. You could do the mile-high thing (drama is always a nice quality in pie) or bake the remainder off as meringue cookies.

Maple+Buttermilk+pie+2 Maple Buttermilk Meringue Whoopsie Pie

Maple Buttermilk Meringue Pie

inspired by this one

1 9″ pie shell

Filling:
2 cups buttermilk
2/3 cup maple syrup
6 large egg yolks
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. maple sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch salt

Meringue:
6 large egg whites
3/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 325°F. Whisk all the filling ingredients together until smooth; pour into the pie shell and bake for 1 hour, until set but still wobbly in the middle. Cool completely.

When you’re ready to finish the pie (it can be chilled for up to a day), preheat the oven to 400°F. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture forms stiff peaks. Mound on top of the pie and swirl thickly with a spoon. Bake for about 10 minutes, or just until the meringue turns golden.

And now it’s technically Saturday – I got home from teaching an out-of-town class at midnight, and as I sat down to write this got a call from my sister across the street saying W was sick and feverish. So I ate a few forkfuls of pie, went and collected him, and am now lying next to a very hot, snotty and feverish bundle of joy.

But I’m determined to not miss Free Stuff Friday. Mostly because my friend Wade generously donated two gift certificates to his fine foodshop, Forage, which are each good for a dinner special of the day and a dessert. I’ve never eaten anything of his that wasn’t fabulous.

Which also acts as a perfect segue way to introduce my Brilliant Idea, something I alluded to ages ago when Blog Aid (which is finally coming to fruition this weekend! it is! I’ll keep you posted!) was just a spark. My idea: dinner together. Yes, as many of us who gather here as can make it. A Farm Table Dinner on Wednesday, February 24th, in the private Green Room at Forage. It’s a long, pale green room with an almost equally long dinner table that will accommodate 20 of us. All of the Green Room dinners feature a local producer, and this time it’s Buffalo Horn Ranch. Wade and his team cook and serve dinner family-style, and it’s all very cozy and delicious.

Here’s the deal: it’s $49 (I’m paying too!) which includes dinner, dessert, coffee/tea, and gratuity.
Doors open at 7:00 PM and dinner is served at 7:30 PM sharp.
Beer and wine service is extra and provided by Infuse catering.
You can call Wade and the fine folks at Forage to book your seat(s).

So.. what was for dinner last night? And what do you think – are enough of you interested in meeting in 3D and sitting down to a real dinner? Can we make a go of it?

pixel Maple Buttermilk Meringue Whoopsie Pie

January 30 2010 | dessert | 49 Comments »

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