It seems you’ve been getting a lot of leftovers lately. (Figuratively speaking, of course. Or have you?) Although I’ve been cooking like mad, prepping and photographing in an almost-always-near-disastrous kitchen with an often grumpy sous chef-slash-dishwasher, I can’t share most of the results with you. Sue and I are in the final stretch of the bean book, finishing up edits and photos and working on the layout and design, and the recipes and images for Alice Eats are due at the end of April (which my calendar tells me is in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS) and if I’m not done I’m pretty sure Pierre will maim me. I’ve seen how good he is with a knife. And this week I’m working on stuff for Swerve, the Herald, Parents Canada, Readers’ Digest, City Palate and Family Kitchen. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking, it’s just that I haven’t been sharing. Also, I’m feeling a little tapped out when it gets to be dinnertime. This morningContinue reading

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It’s like summer comes crashing to a halt on cue the first week of September – suddenly it’s dark before 8, you need to put your wooly socks on, there are leaves crunching underfoot when I take Lou for a walk, and my garden is giving up. Perhaps most ridiculous of all – it’s only a month until Thanksgiving. (!!!) I do love this time of year though, and all the produce that goes with it, and the way the oven warms the house, rather than just heating it up. It makes me want to cook all over again, even though I never stopped cooking over the summer.

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Happy new year, guys! Technically it’s still a new-ish year, yes? Even though now suddenly it’s almost the end of January? Apologies again for the radio silence – I’m working on some new design tweaks here, or have hired some fine folks to as it’s one of the many things I’m almost completely clueless about, and of course there have been obstacles to be sorted out. Nothing seems to be as straightforward as it is in my mind. Except! This chicken curry, which looks like it has a lot of ingredients, and I suppose technically it does, but once you get to know it, has a very satisfying routine to it: build a thick, brick red masala with oil (or ghee!), onions, ginger, garlic and spices, nestle in some chicken and let it simmer. Vij once told me that at his restaurant people complain with some regularity that “the curry isn’t the same as it was last time”, and he says “it’s not supposed to”,Continue reading

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Is it too much of a cliche to jump from bread pudding and cinnamon knots to a veggie-heavy curry in the early days of January? I crave stewy, spicy things after so many weeks (OK, months) of butter cookies and Toblerone. And I inevitably get all excited about the piles of gnarly squash over the winter and buy more than I get around to actually using. Sometimes it’s because I go for the bumpiest beasts, the ones you have to tackle with a cleaver to access the insides of. Sure, you can go for smooth-skinned butternut with thick necks, or even buy a bag of squash cubes – in fact, they work extra well here, cooking down quickly into a curry. But if you have a bit of a monster on your hands, one that refuses to be peeled, simply hack it into pieces and roast them in the oven until the flesh is tender enough to scoop or peel away from the skin andContinue reading

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I realize I’ve been dishing up a lot of sweet stuff lately – I promise we do eat real food too on occasion. You know what a fan I am of those rainbow peanut butter marshmallow squares – last time I made a batch W loudly wished they had been chocolate peanut butter, only the very best flavour combination ever, and so of course I obliged. It’s easy – just swap the butterscotch chips for chocolate, which I’m far more likely to have around anyway. And ever since a friend singed hers on the stovetop last Christmas, creating these irresistibly tasty crispy bits, I’ve imagined them with a slight crunch from a handful of cereal. Which turned out to be a Very Good Idea.

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–Chicken & Marinade: 1 1/2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs, or pork tenderloin (1-2), cut into strips 1/2-1 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger 2 Tbsp. soy sauce 1 Tbsp. honey or brown sugar 2 tsp. curry paste or powder –Peanut Sauce: 1/3 cup peanut butter 2 Tbsp. soy sauce 2 Tbsp. brown sugar or honey 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar or lime juice 1 garlic clove, crushed 1-2 tsp. grated fresh ginger 1 tsp. sesame oil (optional) 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. curry paste (optional) water or coconut milk, to thin it out To make the satay, cut the chicken lengthwise into fairly uniform strips (or cut pork tenderloin in half crosswise and then lengthwise into strips) and place in a bowl or zip-lock bag. Combine all the marinade ingredients and pour over the meat; toss well or squish the bag to coat and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight, or freeze for upContinue reading

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I’ve never been to India, but I consider myself a curry enthusiast. And I’m fascinated by Indian cuisine. A month or so I spent some time in the kitchen with Mrs. Nimji, an eightysomething neighbour (of sorts) who just happens to have self-published what is now considered the bible of Ismaili cooking, having sold somewhere in the neighbourhood of a quarter million copies. I loved just being in the kitchen with her, watching how she toasted her spices and snipped her almonds in the button-up housedress she used as a full body apron, keeping her outfit immaculate underneath. She gifted me a jar of her own garam masala and my own masala dabba, a round tin filled with smaller round tins filled with spices, which is like the Indian version of an artists’ palatte. I’ve had it on my countertop, admiring it but not quite ready to delve into it until this weekend, when I got to hang with one Vikram Vij, who y’all mayContinue reading

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