Happy 3.14 – Pi Day! We can still get local apples at this time of year, and a handful of fresh or frozen berries make such a delicious accompaniment, adding a hit of tartness and colour to the usual apple filling. Virtually any kind of berry works, from blackberries to blueberries to raspberries – if you use strawberries, slice them first to more evenly distribute their juices. And get your kids in the kitchen to help! Since it’s Pi Day, you can even cut the Pi symbol into the top crust to allow steam to escape.
If it’s your first time working with pastry, just remember to handle it as little as possible, and don’t worry about it looking perfect – the best kind of pie is the kind that’s on your table. (And when it comes to pie, rough = rustic!)Read More
Everyone should know how to make a biscuit. They’re infinitely versatile – perfect for serving alongside soup, stew or chili, for turning into a sandwich or when you need to serve up some sloppy Joes. They can be made sweet for weekend mornings, or savoury with the addition of cheese, roasted garlic or fresh herbs. I like mine plain, served warm with butter and honey or jam.Read More
It’s Super Bowl weekend, which means many of us will be snacking on the couch, and offerings in the chip and snack aisles have doubled. But snacking doesn’t have to be unhealthy – there are plenty of dips out there that aren’t based on mayo, sour cream and cheese (not that there’s anything wrong with that…) – hummus is perhaps the most familiar, but you can in fact make dips out of other pulses, too. Read More
It’s Chinese New Year this weekend, and while we’d love to brave the crowds at some of our favourite Chinese restaurants, we decided to pick up some ingredients in Chinatown and make a few of our favourite things at home. Noodles are always a hit around here – especially quickly fried with a mildly spicy sesame sauce and tender pork tenderloin.Read More
Chicken drumsticks are my son’s favourite – and if I’m honest, I secretly love them too. They’re inexpensive, perfect for eating with your fingers, and are like a meatier version of chicken wings – more meat, less skin, but still wonderfully, finger-lickin’ sticky. I recently tried a version with honey and garlic – my favourite style of chicken wing – and they were a dinnertime hit.
Gail Hall has been a positive force on the Alberta culinary scene for decades – she was an award-winning caterer, broadcaster, food writer, educator and international culinary tour guide who knew everyone and shared everything from her cooking school and loft on 104th Street in Edmonton. We’ve known her for years, and like most others who knew her, have been inspired by not only her work, but her infectious energy and enthusiasm. She has done so much to build our culinary community, to teach home cooks and support new (and established) chefs.
Sadly, Gail passed away in November, but this past weekend her husband Jon along with her many friends and family members held a celebration of her life – a potluck, of course, and we baked a batch of her almond biscotti to bring along. Thanks Gail, for all the delicious things you’ve shared, and for bringing so many people together around the table.
After somehow accumulating a fridge full of broccoli, making a big pot of broccoli cheddar soup seemed to be a good course of action. This version is bulked up with some butternut squash. Serve it with a bit of crusty bread and you’ve got a full meal. Read More
Growing up, my mom regularly made Ichiban salad – a crunchy mix of coleslaw, packaged ramen noodles, toasted almonds and a tangy dressing made with rice vinegar, oil and part of the seasoning packet. It’s not the healthiest salad in the world, but the mounds of cabbage tend to offset the crunchy noodles, and we only use half the seasoning packet. It has become my go-to desk lunch, and default dinnertime salad, made easy with bagged coleslaw mix, perfectly suited with anything from meatloaf to roasted chicken. If you can’t have almonds in your house, substitute toasted pepitas (green pumpkin seeds).
Aloo gobi, a classic Indian dish of curried potatoes and cauliflower, makes for a wonderfully nourishing stew. Full of veggies, it’ll offset all the holiday baking and sweets we lived on for the past month – it’s exactly the sort of thing we crave when January arrives. As with most curry dishes, it will improve with flavour after a day or two in the fridge, so it’s perfect for making on the weekend if you anticipate a busy week.
This stew is apparently one of Eddie Vedder‘s favourites – all the more reason to give it a try!
Looking for ways to keep kids busy during the holidays? This tasty treat is easy for little hands to make – and they don’t require the same dexterity decorating rolled sugar cookies with frosting and candy requires. They make sweet and salty treats that are fun for kids to package up and share with their friends.
Pick up some chunky pretzels, and melt a small bowl of chopped white chocolate or chocolate chips – or pick up a tub of frosting and warm it for about 20 seconds in the microwave, until it’s a dippable consistency.
Set out bowls of coloured sugar, sprinkles and small candies and let kids dip first in chocolate or frosting, then in sprinkles and candy; set aside on a parchment-lined sheet until set. That’s it! Fun, festive candy sticks for all!
‘Tis the season to warm up with a mug of hot chocolate – we like to mix up a big batch of our own, rather than rely on packaged instant hot chocolate, to stir into warmed milk throughout the winter. It’s also an easy thing for kids to measure and stir together – no chopping or heat required – to package up and give to their friends, relatives, even teachers and coaches to say thanks during the festive season. All you need is some good cocoa, powdered sugar (which will dissolve more easily than regular sugar) and a handful of mini marshmallows. Set the kids up with some markers to make labels, and your holiday gift giving is halfway done!
‘Tis the season for holiday cookies, and this year these chewy Chocolate-ginger Molasses Crinkles have become one of our go-to recipes for Christmas cookie exchanges. They’re easy to make, fun for kids to roll in sugar, and combine warm cinnamon and ginger with deep chocolate flavour. The recipe makes over 2 dozen, so there’s enough to package up and give away, plus a few to nibble on! Cookies are also perfect for teachers, coaches and other people kids want to thank at this time of year.
Make sure you don’t overbake these; they need to stay chewy. They should be set around the edges, but still soft in the middle – they’ll firm up as they cool.
We love a good bacon jam — it’s so easy to make in the slow cooker. Make a batch over the holidays and serve it with baguette slices as an easy party food and then spread the leftovers on a flatbread crust for a pre-Christmas pizza night. Read More
It’s holiday cookie season! This is one of our annual must-haves – Russian Tea Cakes, otherwise known as Mexican Wedding Cakes or in our house, Mom’s Nut Balls. They’re bite-sized shortbread balls made with finely chopped pecans or almonds (some even use hazelnuts), rolled in icing sugar while they’re still warm, which creates a sort of buttery frosting on the outside. Whatever you call them, they’re irresistible – and look delicious on a cookie tray, or bundled up in cellophane and tied with ribbon to give as a gift. Since they last well and are nice and compact, they’re also perfect for cookie exchange parties – it’s one of my go-to recipes.