In keeping with our new hobby of exploring close to home, we ventured beyond the Alberta border toward Saskatoon, a city I love but haven’t properly visited in years. We didn’t realize it was only 6 hours away, and with a route that goes right through Drumheller, we hopped in the car for a long weekend in June. With a population of around a quarter million, it’s neither a small town nor big city – the perfect size for exploring, really. And like most Canadian city-towns it’s currently exploding with good food, new breweries and plenty of good coffee to be discovered. W’s first discovery: phone books! Thick paper ones that listed everyone in the city. It was such a novelty, he lay on the hotel book reading it half the night. The next morning, we hit the Night Oven. Love the name, the place, the bread, the pastries, the coffee. Some of the best bread in Canada is baked right here, baked with heritageContinue reading

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For the record, I take photos of the food I share here before we all dive into it; it’s not styled in a studio, and more often than not people are sitting around while I snap, waiting to eat it. Such was the case this evening, when a handful of family came over for pizza in the back yard. Because there are so many berries in the city right now (the benefit of breaking all records for heat and sun this year) I made a pie. A galette, actually – a free-form pie you assemble and bake on a baking sheet rather than in a pie plate (although a pie plate works well too, and contains any leaks), which is one of my favourite things to do with a chunk of puff pastry. It was one of the items that got ejected from my overstuffed freezer in order to make room for the ice cream insert (priorities) – almost like it was meant to be.

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1/2 pkg puff pastry dough or pastry for a single crust pie flour, for rolling 1/3 cup sugar 2 Tbsp cornstarch pinch salt 3 cups raspberries and saskatoons 1 Tbsp butter, in bits (optional) milk or cream, for brushing (optional) coarse sugar, for sprinkling (optional) Preheat the oven to 375F. On a lightly floured surface, roll your pastry out to a rough circle about 10-12 inches in diameter. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add the berries and gently toss to combine. Pour onto the middle of the pastry and fold the edges over, aiming for an inch or so around each side to contain them. If you like, dot the berries with butter, brush the edge of the pastry with milk or cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden and bubbling and the juices are no longer cloudy. Cool to warm before slicing and serving with ice creamContinue reading

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Growing up, when our dog (a bearded collie named Sundance) was getting old, I remember my horror when I realized why my mom was buying smaller and smaller bags of dog food. It feels a little like that here… we’re in the final stages of tweaking the back end of the new website and moving everything over, at which point most of the photos won’t fit the new layout, and so posts are getting fewer and further between – more stuff means more to move, and resize. And I’ve been in Edmonton all week – I just got back – but I did bake a batch of muffins on Sunday night before I left, to bring with me in the car on my pre-dawn drive out to Viking, Alberta, and for Mike to tuck into W’s insulated lunch fish (it’s a fish) to relieve some of the guilt I always have over going away. These are good muffins – ones we used to go toContinue reading

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Serves as many as you want to. fresh or frozen saskatoons sugar vanilla ice cream milk Put a cup or so of saskatoons into a small saucepan and add a splash of water (they aren’t very juicy at first) and a shake of sugar – about a third of a cup, or to taste. Simmer until the berries pop, then cool and refrigerate until cold. To make your milkshake, you kind of have to play it by ear – how much milk you’ll need will depend on the density of your ice cream and the juiciness of your saskatoons. Put a few scoops of ice cream into the blender, then add a good pour of saskatoons and their juice, and a glug of milk, and pulse until it’s as smooth as you can get it, adding extra milk or berry juice if it’s too thick, or more berries if it’s not purple enough.

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I’ve been traveling a lot lately, and working more hours than is probably good for me (or those I live with), and there have been extra obligations that have all added up to too much of everything, and not nearly enough sleep and W. And so on Friday we spontaneously decided to hop in the car and take off somewhere where there wasn’t a computer, or a neglected garden/back yard/basement that needed work, where we could just hang out for a night and play cards and eat Cheezies and sleep in. I find car trips therapeutic – to an extent – and am particularly fond of hour-or-two long excursions during which I can either answer my email in the car as Mike drives (I get a crazy rush out of dozens of emails whooshing out of my outbox when we arrive at an internet connection), or unplug and gaze out the window at rolling fields. As much as I love the mountains, I feel comfortedContinue reading

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If you’re using blueberries, up the flour to 1/4 cup.

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Saskatoons are far from in season, I realize – but blueberries are close. And local saskatoons can be had by the bagful from the freezer at the farmers’ market. This is about the time of year I start wanting pie – more so than my usual every day pie craving, that is – and berry pie in particular; one that will preferably release purple juices into my vanilla ice cream. A saskatoon pie also makes for a nostalgic sweet for mothers in law in the hospital, where the desserts that arrive on the nightly dinner tray rhymes with hell-O and comes in a plastic cup. This isn’t the prettiest pie I’ve made – I had slightly less pastry than I needed, left over from another baking project – but someone once said that the best kind of pie is the kind that’s on the table. I don’t worry about the oohing and aahing, so long as it tastes delicious.

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